Portia de Rossi and Ellen DeGeneres have been married for five years, but there was a time when de Rossi was afraid to tell the public that she was gay. She is proud that she has become a role model for young people facing the same decision.
Portia de Rossi has been happily married to Ellen DeGeneres for years, but it wasn’t long before her marriage that de Rossi was struggling with her sexuality. She recently made a stop on Inside the Actors Studio and talked with James Lipton about her decision to publicly come out.
“I think when I really, truly came out was the Golden Globes when Arrested Development was nominated,” she told Lipton. “Ellen and I had been together for a month and I was very, very nervous going to that because I knew that I was going to meet up with her after the show. We actually stepped out together as a couple but, for me, it was the first time that I stepped out as a gay woman.”
That Golden Globes appearance was back in 2005, and it was a big step for de Rossi. Growing up, she didn’t feel comfortable being a lesbian because there weren’t many public figures she could relate to.
“I just didn’t want to be a lesbian,” de Rossi said, according to the Huffington Post. “I’d never met one for a start and I just thought they were strange and that they hated men and they were very serious and I had these ridiculous images in my head and there were no out celebrities or politicians or anybody that I could look to and go, ‘Oh, I could be like that.’ There was nobody that I could say, ‘I could date her and I want to be like her.’ I just kind of thought I don’t want to live like this. I don’t have to, I don’t need to, I just shut down the emotional life.”
The actress eventually began to feel more comfortable about who she was, and she is now happy to serve as a role model for teens going through the same struggles.
“I really, honestly think that anybody who is openly gay and visible is powerful,” she recently told Out Magazine. “It doesn’t matter what you do, you are impacting people.”