When Ellen DeGeneres came out on the cover of Time Magazine in 1997, then again as the titular character on her ABC sitcom Ellen, she became the first openly lesbian actress to play an openly lesbian character on TV. It was groundbreaking, according to a 20-year retrospective in USA Today in 2017, and DeGeneres hasn't stopped making waves yet.
For over a decade, she has also had a wave-making partner: her wife, Portia de Rossi. The couple will celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary on Aug. 16, and looking back on their relationship is a study in nostalgia and romance as much as a study in how Hollywood's attitude toward gay and lesbian performers has changed over the years.
We've compiled 10 of DeGeneres and de Rossi's best moments in honor of this huge milestone in their relationship. Get ready to laugh, cry and clutch your chest with glee, because these moments are pretty special.
1. When DeGeneres announced their engagement on her show
In 2008, the day after the California Supreme Court overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriage, DeGeneres announced on her talk show, "So I would like to say, right now, for the first time, I am announcing: I am getting married." The audience — including de Rossi — exploded into cheers and applause, and the emotion in DeGeneres' voice and her expression is palpable.
2. DeGeneres' sweet wedding monologue
Just after their intimate wedding ceremony in August 2008, DeGeneres shared photos with her audience and talked about the day. Her signature humor is as present as ever, but her joy is also incredible.
3. The first time de Rossi was a guest on Ellen
Seven months after their wedding, on March 16, 2009, de Rossi went on DeGeneres' daytime talk show for the first time. After a genuinely funny moment in which DeGeneres proves to the audience that she is, in fact, taller than her wife (de Rossi's heels are apparently misleading), she goes onto treat de Rossi "like any other guest who just got married" and asks questions like, "Are you enjoying being married to me?" It's incredibly, incredibly sweet.
4. Their first TV interview as a married couple
"[I knew Ellen was the one] when I first laid eyes on her, but it took me three years to actually tell her how I felt about her because I was on Ally McBeal at the time and I was not living as an openly gay person," de Rossi told Oprah in a November 2009 interview, just over a year after her wedding to DeGeneres. "I was closeted and very, very afraid that if I talked about being gay, it would be the end of my career, so I wasn't about to date the most famous lesbian in the world."
Meanwhile, DeGeneres said, "I had given up," assuming that her feelings for de Rossi were unrequited.
5. When the Ellen audience asked de Rossi their burning questions
In a 2014 appearance on Ellen, de Rossi answered questions from fans, including "Do you and Ellen work out together?" (answer: yes!) and "How are you enjoying Twitter?" De Rossi said, "Oh, I love Twitter! Like, three weeks ago I joined Twitter, and the first week, I just had my head in my phone. I couldn't do anything other than be on Twitter." She also said that DeGeneres totally showed up her 32,000 followers after her first weekend on the site: "You said, 'Oh, that's great, honey! I have 32 million.'"
6. Their 2014 holiday letter
Following the tradition of annual holiday letters in which families brag about all of their accomplishments during the year, DeGeneres penned one that she shared on her show. "Luckily, Portia and I don't have any kids to tell you about, although, according to the tabloids, we've been pregnant 16 times alone this year," she quips at one point, then gives an update on their nieces and her mom.
7. When they talk about sneaking photos of each other
When audience members asked de Rossi about her Twitter usage in 2015, both she and DeGeneres commented that she's constantly sneaking pictures of her wife to share on the site — and DeGeneres likes to snap sneaky photos, too. Plus, the pet parenting talk in this interview is total goals.
8. The Not-So-Newlywed Game
So You Think You Can Dance alum Twitch hosted "The Not-So-Newlywed Game" on Ellen in 2015, just after DeGeneres and de Rossi celebrated their seventh wedding anniversary. They faced off against Melissa McCarthy and her husband, Ben Falcone, who "have a few years" on their competitors; at the time, they said they'd been married for 10 years and together for "about 17."
However, de Rossi and DeGeneres totally smoked Falcone and McCarthy, whose answers are hilarious and "true," they admit, but don't match (which is the point of the game).
9. When de Rossi revealed her secret for a successful marriage
In a 2016 interview with Entertainment Weekly, de Rossi said, "I think Ellen and I love [our relationship] the most. We're just really good friends and we talk about everything and we never, ever lie to each other." She added, "She's the only person I want to hang out with. She is my best friend. I just want to be with her all the time. She's just so awesome — who wouldn't want to be with Ellen all the time?"
10. When de Rossi gave DeGeneres a surprise 60th birthday gift
DeGeneres turned 60 on Jan. 26, and her talk show hosted a number of guests who wanted to wish her a happy birthday — including de Rossi, who brought a surprise birthday gift. Not only did she establish the Ellen DeGeneres Wildlife Fund for DeGeneres to continue philanthropic work with animals, but she also created an initiative to set up a permanent home for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. DeGeneres has looked up to Fossey since seeing her on the cover of National Geographic in 1970.
When de Rossi ended her reveal, DeGeneres said, "When we got married, Portia's line was, 'It's good to be loved. It's profound to be understood.' And she understands me, because that is the best gift that anybody could have given me."