Ellen Degeneres, 61, has spoken out about the sexual abuse she endured as a teen. The television host was one of the guests who stopped by David Letterman’s own show, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, where she made the shocking confession. The star detailed how her stepdad used her mom’s cancer diagnosis to manipulate her. “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, according to ET. “He convinced me that he needs to feel my breasts and then he tries to do it again another time, and then another time.”
The comedian admitted that her mother, Betty DeGeneres, had married “a very bad man,” and that the situation had left her irate. “I’m angry at myself because, you know, I didn’t — I was too weak to stand up to…I was 15 or 16,” Ellen admitted. “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 added, according to the publication. “We [women] just don’t feel like we’re worthy, or we’re scared to have a voice, and we’re scared to say no. 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 explained, in hopes her words will help others who have experienced a similar situation.
While this is the first time that Ellen has spoken out about the details of the molestation, she’s made mention of her troubled childhood in interviews in the past. She admitted that her stepfather was abusive in a 2005 interview, where she recalled he “tried to break down” her door. “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.”
The full Netflix series is set to debut Friday, May 31. Other guests on season two of the David Letterman-hosted show include Kanye West, Tiffany Haddish, and Lewis Hamilton. You can see this season’s trailer, above.