"I was approaching 45, aging out," de Rossi joked. "I was just kind of wondering if there was something I could tackle now that I've never done before that would be really wonderful and different. I kind of knew what acting would look like for me for the next 10 or 20 years, so I decided to quit and start a business."
In lieu of acting, de Rossi started General Public, an art curation and publishing company that uses special technology to print paintings.
"I see a lot of women in their mid-forties kind of thinking about the next stage of their lives and I just didn't want to regret not trying something," de Rossi said.
The decision to quit wasn't one that initially stuck, though. After being written off Scandal, de Rossi still found herself filming season five of Arrested Development, which hits Netflix May 29.
"I made this decision about 18 months ago, Shonda Rhimes wrote me off Scandal, it was fine," de Rossi recalled. "I called Mitch Hurwitz, who's the creator of Arrested Development, and I said, 'If there is a season five I won't be doing it because I quit acting.' And he seemed really understanding and he totally got it, we had a really great conversation ... and then he wrote me into five episodes. I don't know how it happened, but yes, I am on season five."
Apparently, Arrested Development appreciated de Rossi's appearance; the team there donated $50,000 to the Ellen DeGeneres Wildlife Fund — the gift that de Rossi gave DeGeneres for her 60th birthday in January.
It turns out that gift, which de Rossi had to keep secret for five to six months, was hard to pull off.
"It was so hard too because she's really observant. Not nosy, just observant," de Rossi assured. "So yeah, it was really quite a feat to pull that off. I mean, you know, it's kind of hard to know what to get you, right?"
In between trying to successfully prepare DeGeneres' gift, de Rossi admittedly made a few mistakes with the guest list for her wife's birthday party.
"I need to say this on the air. So it was up to me to do the guest list and I may have left a couple of very important people off the guest list. It's my fault. That's what I want to say," de Rossi said. "Sorry, Jane Fonda. She's, like, my idol and I forgot her. Heidi Klum, you make the best swimsuits ever, thank you. I'm so sorry."
Watch the video below to see how to couple spent their Scandal Thursdays: