The Untold Story of Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi's Marriage
...and the sad reason it took de Rossi three years to tell DeGeneres how she felt.

Today, Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi are perhaps the most iconic same-sex couple in Hollywood. This year, the host of Emmy-winning The Ellen DeGeneres Show and the actress known for her roles in Arrested Development and Scandal celebrated nine years of marriage. But it took a long time to get where they are now.

When DeGeneres and de Rossi first met socially, both women felt a connection. During their first interview as a married couple, de Rossi revealed to Oprah Winfrey that for her, it was actually love at first sight. "[I knew Ellen was the one] when I first laid eyes on her, but it took me three years to actually tell her how I felt about her because I was on Ally McBeal at the time and I was not living as an openly gay person. I was closeted and very, very afraid that if I talked about being gay, it would be the end of my career, so I wasn't about to date the most famous lesbian in the world."

A couple years later, de Rossi fully realized the extent of her feelings while on a photo shoot with DeGeneres.

"I just walked over to say hello to her, and I couldn't believe it, but she turned around and it was like an arrow was shot through my heart," de Rossi recalled. "I felt weak at the knees and I was overwhelmed with how I felt, but then it took me about 10 months to get the courage up to actually do anything about it."

The stars started seeing each other in December 2004. After the California Supreme Court overturned the ban on same-sex marriage in 2008, DeGeneres announced on her talk show that she and de Rossi were going to get married.

Originally, DeGeneres had planned on surprising de Rossi with a private commitment ceremony during a joint birthday party (both were born in late January), but the change in law sparked a change in plans. Shortly after, de Rossi debuted a dazzling marquis-cut diamond engagement ring on the red carpet, and the couple discussed their upcoming wedding.


A post shared by Portia de Rossi (@portiaderossi) on

It was important to the couple to be legally married because, as DeGeneres explained on Oprah, "Anybody who's married knows that there is a difference. There's an anchor, there's a safety. I'm going to be with her till the day I die and I know that."

@PortiadeRossi and I got married 9 years ago today. Being her wife is the greatest thing I am.

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So, on August 16, 2008, the brides said "I do" in front of just 19 friends and family members at their Los Angeles home, both in custom Zac Posen designs.


Marriage "is not something we've ever taken for granted," de Rossi told People of the big day. "That we get to do this, it means a lot."


A post shared by Portia de Rossi (@portiaderossi) on

In 2010, de Rossi officially changed her name to Portia Lee James DeGeneres. For professional purposes, of course, she still goes by her maiden name.

"I'm so grateful for the love in my life," DeGeneres told People in her 2016 cover story. "Because not everybody finds that. Not everybody finds that best friend."

Happy New Year!! ???????? #stbarths

A post shared by Portia de Rossi (@portiaderossi) on

"Portia and I constantly say to each other, 'We are so lucky," she continued. "Sometimes it's lying in bed at night before I go to sleep, and I just say thank you to whatever, whoever is out there. I've gotten to a place where I really am just settled. Really. I know that I'm not going anywhere. She's not going anywhere. I'm not saying the relationship took a while; I'm saying in my life, it took a while to find this."

"I'm so grateful for the love in my life. Because not everybody finds that. Not everybody finds that best friend."

Both women frequently share cute snapshots of their life and travels together, usually with sweet captions. "I take pictures of Portia all the time because she's pretty," DeGeneres said on her show.

But things haven't always been easy for either woman. As a teenager, DeGeneres was sexually abused by her stepfather, and then after she came out, she was bullied and suffered severe depression. Meanwhile, de Rossi struggled with eating disorders. While promoting her book about her battle, Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain on Ellen's show, an emotional de Rossi shared how her wife changed her life:

"I have changed so much since I met Ellen. I used to think the way to be strong was to be tough, the way to be independent was to not need anyone. But she's taught me that the more vulnerable you are and the softer you are and the more you allow people into your life and into your heart, the happier you are and the more valuable you are to other people. Ellen has completely changed the way I look at life. She has made me not worry about what other people think. I'm still working on that, I have to be honest. She has taught me that who I am is perfectly good enough ... that I don't have to pretend to be anything other than who I am, and that's been the most incredible gift that she's given me that anyone could give to anybody that they love."


The wives have been open about their decision not to have kids, with DeGeneres joking to Today, "What if I don't like the kid?" and more seriously, remarking to Sunday Style that the entertainment industry can be difficult for children, who have to share their parents with the world. Apparently, the topic of kids was discussed once, after they'd been together for four years, "but we just decided we like our conversations not being interrupted and our furniture without sticky grape juice on it," the host said.

Instead, they are happy parents to pets, even naming one puppy "Kid" so that when people ask when they're going to have a kid, they can say, "We do!"

Sunday writing partners

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The couple spends about as much time debunking divorce rumors as they do fielding questions about starting a family.

"I don't know why they do this," DeGeneres said on Howard Stern's Sirius XM radio show in response to such false headlines. "We're kind of flattered. We really don't almost break up, we don't fight, we're madly in love, and I guess it's boring."

So, what's their secret to a strong, successful marriage?

"We're just really good friends and we talk about everything, and we never ever, ever lie to each other, like, not even the tiniest lies," de Rossi told ET in an interview on the red carpet. "And she's the only person I want to hang out with. Like, she is my best friend and I just want to be with her all the time."

"She's just so awesome!" she continued. "Who wouldn't want to be with Ellen all the time?"

From: Country Living US

This story originally appeared on
* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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Taysha Murtaugh
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