The daytime talk show star reportedly revealed on Season 2 of Netflix’s “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman” that she was assaulted by her mother’s new husband when she was a teenager — and hid it for years.
According to Entertainment Tonight, “The Ellen Show” host said the man told her he needed to feel her breasts because her mother had recently had a breast removed after a cancer diagnosis and he needed to check her body for lumps.
“He told me when she was out of town that he’d felt a lump in her breast and needed to feel my breasts because he didn’t want to upset her, but he needed to feel mine,” DeGeneres, 61, said.
DeGeneres said that because she “didn’t know about bodies” or “that breasts are all different,” her mom’s husband “convinced me that he needs to feel my breasts and then he tries to do it again another time, and then another time.”
The comic said the man attempted to break into her room, kicked her window out, “and ran ’cause I knew it was going to go more to something… and I didn’t want to tell my mother ’cause I was protecting her and I knew that would ruin her happiness.”
DeGeneres said she’s mad at herself because she didn’t stand up to her attacker. “It’s a really horrible, horrible story and the only reason I’m actually going to go into detail about it is because I want other girls to not ever let someone do that,” she told Letterman.
The host added that she hid the assault from her mother for a few years, and when she did tell her, she didn’t believe her “and then stayed with [her husband] for 18 more years.” DeGeneres said that finally, her mother left her husband “because he’d changed the story so many times.”
DeGeneres said she hopes that by coming forward about her sexual assault, that others will come forward with their stories.
“When I see people speaking out, especially now, it angers me when victims aren’t believed because we just don’t make stuff up,” she said. “It is just time for us to have a voice. It’s time for us to have power.”
Photo credit: Entertainment tonight, Getty image for Netflix