Ahead of Thursday's episode of the long-running series, the 63-year-old host addressed her announcement about the program's upcoming 19th season being its last. After news of her departure broke on Wednesday, a source told ET that DeGeneres just felt like it was "time to move on."
"Today, I am announcing that next season, season 19, is going to be last season. So, the past 18 years, you have to know, has changed my life. You all have changed my life and I am forever grateful to all of you for watching, for laughing, for dancing, sometimes crying," DeGeneres said in her opening monologue, shared on Wednesday. "This show has been the greatest experience of my life and I owe it all to you. So thank you, thank you, thank you," she continued getting teary-eyed. "I want you to know that I thought about this decision. I sat with it for a while, I meditated on it. I talked to Portia, I talked to myself."
After cracking a few jokes, she added, "The point is I need to take a break from talking." She admitted that she always knew that season 19 would be her last season.
"The truth is I always trust my instincts. My instinct told me it's time," DeGeneres explained in part. "In all seriousness, I truly have felt like next season was the right time to end this amazing chapter."
See her full monologue below:
DeGeneres is set to further discuss her exit with guest Oprah Winfrey during Thursday's episode. She is also making an appearance on NBC News’ Today in an interview with Savannah Guthrie to discuss her departure.
"It's going to be really hard on the last day, but I also know it’s time," she told the outlet. "When you’re a creative person, you constantly need to be challenged – and as great as this show is, and as fun as it is, it’s just not a challenge anymore. I need something new to challenge me."
"Although all good things must come to an end, you still have hope that truly great things never will," Warner Bros.' unscripted TV president Mike Darnell added, calling the series "an absolute phenomenon" that established itself "as the premiere destination" for both superstars and incredible heartfelt human-interest stories. "Ellen was and is an indelible piece of the television landscape, and it will be sorely missed."