“I can’t even believe I’m turning 60,” marvels Ellen DeGeneres, who will celebrate that landmark birthday on Jan. 26. “In some ways, that number doesn’t even compute. I’m so immature. I’m like a child.”
The comedian is joking, of course, but it’s her childlike enthusiasm that has charmed audiences, making her the reigning queen of daytime talk with her self-titled show as well as the host of NBC’s new prime-time hit Ellen’s Game of Games.
Yet as hot as her career is, she no longer sees it as the most important aspect of her life — and that’s a lesson it’s taken her six decades to learn. “Portia and Betty are her priority, and her career comes in a close third,” an insider tells Closer of Ellen’s spouse, actress Portia de Rossi, 44, and mom Betty, 87. Confirms Ellen of Portia, with whom she will toast their 10th anniversary this year, “Our priorities are each other. If we had kids, then I’m sure they would be [our priorities], but we are. And that’s important.”
No matter how hard she’s working, Ellen always makes time to have dinner with her wife. “Portia understands me completely,” gushes Ellen. “In our vows, she recited a quote, ‘It is good to be loved. It is profound to be understood’ — and that to me is everything. She supports me and makes me happy.”
Together, the couple enjoys renovating houses, and their Beverly Hills compound will likely be the site of a lavish party they will throw for Ellen’s birthday. “She wants her 60th birthday to be memorable,” says the insider. “She’s talked about having two celebrations: a quiet night at home with just Portia, and then a blowout party to celebrate the milestone. And if it’s anything like last year, it will be a star-studded event.”
The guest list includes celebs like Allison Janney, Channing Tatum, and Miley Cyrus. The menu will feature dishes from some of her favorite restaurants, like Crossroads, an LA eatery that serves only plant-based foods since Ellen and Portia are vegan.
Ellen is eating up all the attention she’s receiving for her birthday. “She’s not dreading 60,” says the insider. “She loves getting wiser.” Among the most valuable insights she’s attained over the years: “I know this: I’m kind,” Ellen says. “I’m a good person to work with and for. I’m putting on a great show I’m proud of and that makes people feel good. I just try to be the best person I can be.”
And she’s not ready to retire anytime soon. She’s working on a stand-up special, her first in 15 years, for Netflix. “I wanted to give people a glimpse into my life and do things I don’t do on the show,” Ellen says. “It’s good not to be too comfortable. It’s good to keep growing.”
For more on Ellen, pick up the latest issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now — and be sure to sign up for our newsletter for exclusive news!