How Old Was Ellen DeGeneres When ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ Started?

The Ellen DeGeneres Show is coming to an end. Ellen DeGeneres announced on May 12 the show will be ending after its upcoming season. In her interview announcing her decision to end the talk show, she discussed the toxic work environment allegations and shared other reasons for leaving. The show has been an afternoon TV staple for decades. How old was DeGeneres when it started?

Ellen DeGeneres in a floral navy blue button-down shirt in front of a blue background with green plants behind her
Ellen DeGeneres | James Devaney/GC Images

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DeGeneres’ staff was informed of her decision on May 11, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Oprah Winfrey will be the guest on the May 13 show, during which she and DeGeneres will discuss this news.

The daytime host decided in 2018, when her contract was up for renewal, that this would be her last contract. In the time since, the show crossed over the 3,000 episode mark, which was a huge milestone.

DeGeneres told The Hollywood Reporter the show’s end after season 19 has been the plan for several years. But allegations of a toxic work environment nearly shut the show down early in 2020. The 63-year-old said the allegations and subsequent investigations and firings are not the reason the show is ending. She said:

“It almost impacted the show. It was very hurtful to me. I mean, very. But if I was quitting the show because of that, I wouldn’t have come back this season. So, it’s not why I’m stopping but it was hard because I was sitting at home, it was summer, and I see a story that people have to chew gum before they talk to me and I’m like, ‘OK, this is hilarious.’ Then I see another story of some other ridiculous thing and then it just didn’t stop. And I wasn’t working, so I had no platform, and I didn’t want to address it on [Twitter] and I thought if I just don’t address it, it’s going to go away because it was all so stupid.”

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The workplace scandal was a struggle that occurred when DeGeneres and her team already knew the show would soon be over. Nevertheless, the ordeal “destroyed” her. Partially because she claims to have learned it in the press like everyone else, and also because she cares for her employees and doesn’t want them feeling unsafe.

“My whole being is about making people happy,” she said. “And with the talk show, all I cared about was spreading kindness and compassion and everything I stand for was being attacked. So, it destroyed me, honestly. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t.”

The comedian also revealed there was a four-month period where she considered not coming back to the show because of the heat she was getting. She said:

“I really, honestly, felt like, ‘I don’t deserve this. I don’t need this. I know who I am. I’m a good person.’ And I was sitting back going, ‘If I was someone watching this, I would think, ‘Well, there must be some truth to it because it’s not stopping.’ Of course they’re going to believe this because I’m not addressing it because I was told not to and you can imagine what that felt like. And it’s a lot to live up to. I started saying ‘be kind to one another’ because I really believe people should be kind to one another and so it was easy clickbait to say, ‘Oh, the be kind lady isn’t so kind.’ … I am kind, I’m also a woman and I’m a boss.

Season 19 will be the show’s last. It has yet to start. And at 180 episodes per season, the show’s series finale will be in 2022.

Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen DeGeneres | Brooks Kraft/Getty Images

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Moving forward, DeGeneres wants to focus on her conservation efforts, and possibly act in film. Overall, the show is ending because she doesn’t see it as a “challenge” anymore.

“When you’re a creative person, you constantly need to be challenged,” she said. “And as great as this show is, and as fun as it is, it’s just not a challenge anymore.”

No longer working on the show will be a massive change for the host—one her wife, Portia de Rossi, is happy to see, according to DeGeneres. When the daytime talk show started, DeGeneres has already lived through a public scandal that nearly destroyed her. Her sitcom, Ellen, was canceled in 1998 because she came out as a lesbian. In 2003, The Ellen DeGeneres Show began. She was 45 at the time.

She and de Rossi met in 2004 and married in 2008. De Rossi encouraged her wife to end the show in 2018 during contract negotiations, and DeGeneres originally only wanted to agree to one more season. That didn’t work with the network. Three more seasons was the compromise.

“Everybody kept saying, even when I signed, ‘You know, that’s going to be 19, don’t you want to just go to 20? It’s a good number,'” DeGeneres said. “So is 19.”