Ellen DeGeneres is opening up about the sexual assault she says she suffered at her stepfather’s hands. She is also revealing her heartache when her mom failed to believe her story.
She first shared her allegations in 2005 with Allure, but she shared additional information in the next episode of My Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman, set to drop on Netflix Friday. The 61-year-old says her mother Betty married "a very bad man" when she was a teenager, and soon after got diagnosed with breast cancer.
The abuse began with her stepfather pretending to examine her breasts 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," she said. "He convinced me that he needs to feel my breasts and then he tries to do it again another time, and then another time."
DeGeneres said that fear of him eventually led her to run away. "He tries to break my door down, and I kicked the window out and ran 'cause I knew it was going to go more to something," she said. "And I didn’t want to tell my mother because I was protecting her and I knew that would ruin her happiness."
She added, "I’m angry at myself because, you know, I didn’t, I was too weak to stand up to (him), I was 15 or 16. 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."
DeGeneres said she wishes her mother stood up for her. "I wish I would have been better taken care of. I wish she would have believed me," she reflected. "(But) I always have taken care of her my whole life, so I just kept taking care of her. I didn’t really let it get to me… And she’s apologetic, but, you know…"
SPEAKING OUT NOW
DeGeneres said she is speaking out because she wants people to feel like they "have a voice."
"That’s the only reason I think it’s important to talk about it because there’s so many young girls and it doesn’t matter how old you are," she continued. "When I see people speaking out, especially now, it angers me when victims aren’t believed, because we just don’t make stuff up. And I like men, but there are so many men that get away with so much."