Portia de Rossi Recalls Her Fear of Revealing Ellen DeGeneres Romance to Her Grandma
By Mona Khalifeh
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Portia de Rossi and Ellen DeGeneres are taking a walk down relationship memory lane. And while the couple has been living in wedded bliss for 17 years, navigating their relationship hasn't always been easy.
During Tuesday's episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Portia sat down with her wife, where she told the touching story of revealing to her 99-year-old grandmother that she was in a relationship with the talk show host.
"Well, my grandma meant everything to me. We were actually born on the same day, and she was so special to me," Portia began. "And she was a huge fan of Ellen, she loved the sitcom -- loved her sitcom, wouldn't miss an episode, until the episode where she came out."
This was particularly troubling for Portia, who said she knew she was gay, even if her Australian grandmother did not.
She continued, "Now, I know I'm gay this point, and I love my gran and the moment that Ellen came out, she refused to watch the show. In fact, if a commercial for her show came on, she would change the channel and say, 'That disgusting woman.' So, that didn't bode well for me."
Not long after, Portia moved from Australia to Los Angeles, where she started her career as an actress and in 2005, she started a relationship with Ellen during the second season of her now long-running talk show.
While her family knew that she was living with Ellen, Portia said her grandmother was unaware of her relationship with the talk show host until she took a trip back home.
"I came home to see my family in Australia, and I sat by Gran's chair at her feet, and she said to me, 'Are you seeing anyone special?'" Portia recounted. "Now, at this point, my mom was supposed to have told Gran that I was with Ellen, and she knew that we lived together, and I said, 'Gran, I'm with Ellen,' and she said, 'Ellen? Who's Ellen?'" And I said, 'You knew that I lived with Ellen,' and she said, 'Yes, and all this time I was worried that that lesbian was hitting on my granddaughter.'"
"So, then she literally put her head in her hands for 20 seconds or 30 seconds, silent," the 49-year-old actress continued. "And I thought, 'That's it, I've killed my grandma,' she's just gonna literally -- I really thought that I did."
After a brief moment of silence, Portia was worried that she had devastated the 99-year-old, but the reaction she got when her grandmother finally did respond proved that her news did anything but.
"And she just looked at me, and she goes, 'Well, I love you just the same,"' Portia added, concluding the touching tale.
Ellen was also touched by the moment, calling it "beautiful."
"It was a beautiful thing, for someone at that age, to have such strong feelings, and then just say -- well, and then she just thought about it, 'I love you just the same,'" Ellen told the audience.
Ellen shared that they eventually put Portia's grandmother in the best home care they could provide for her in Australia.
"Her mother, Maggie, had been taking care of her, but it got to the point where she couldn't take care of her anymore, so, we put her in the best home care that we could provide for her, and she died at 103 with our wedding picture next to her bed," she added.
The show's upcoming ending is bittersweet for the couple, who have known each other for nearly as long as The Ellen DeGeneres Show has been on air.
"You came into my life on the second season of this show," Ellen shared. "We've been together for 17 years."
"And a half," Portia added.
Ellen continued, "So with this show ending, it's actually a big thing for both of us, because you've watched me go through everything with this show."
Just last week, the 64-year-old daytime talk show host tweeted a picture announcing that she and her crew taped the final episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. That episode is set to air May 26, bringing her storied run to an end after 19 seasons.