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Ellen DeGeneres Reveals She “Hit Rock Bottom” After Coming Out as Gay

Life hasn’t always been easy for Ellen DeGeneres.

In a candid new interview, the 58-year-old TV star revealed she “hit rock bottom” after publicly coming out as gay in 1997 — but, thankfully, has found happiness and showbiz success today with her popular talk show The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

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Ellen with guest Jimmy Fallon on The Ellen Show.

“I was the punch line of lots of jokes. I laughed at some, but I realized there’s somebody on the other side of them. It’s cruel,” Ellen said of being ridiculed by the media after confirming she is a lesbian. “I’ve never liked mean comedy, but that became even more important to me after I was the brunt of it.”

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“I had a lot of insecurity. I wasn’t sure if I was going to work again, and although I was out, I was still trying to alter myself — not dressing the way I wanted to dress or wearing my hair the way I wanted to,” she told OUT magazine.

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Ellen in 1997, the year she came out.

“I slowly gained the confidence to be authentic, and what I’ve learned about other people is that they strive to be authentic, too,” she continued. “So whether they fully support me, love my lifestyle, or love that I’m married to a woman, I think they like that authenticity, and they’re drawn to it.”

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“If [my life now] isn’t an example of ‘It gets better,’ I don’t know what is. Time is a strange thing. I was at rock bottom and out of money, with no work in sight, but one step at a time, it gets better. It gets much better than better,” Ellen added.

Click through the gallery below to see more of Ellen and Portia’s cutest photos!