In a statement to the Today show, Ellen DeGeneres' mother, Betty DeGeneres, responded to the claims her daughter made about her stepdad. In an upcoming episode of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman, DeGeneres spoke in detail about the alleged abuse she suffered at the hands of her stepfather for the first time since 2005, and her mother says she lives with "regret" for not listening to her daughter's claims.
“I know that one of the hardest things to do is speak up after being sexually abused,” Betty said in a statement to Today. “I love my daughter and I wish had the capacity to listen to her when she told me what happened. I live with that regret, and I wouldn’t want that for any other parent,” she added, asking people to believe survivors who come forward with their stories. “If someone in your life has the courage to speak out, please believe them."
Original story published below on May 28.
Ellen DeGeneres has spoken out again about being sexually assaulted by her stepfather when she was a teenager.
In a new interview with David Letterman's My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, the talk show host discussed how her mother married a "very bad man," who would go on to molest DeGeneres not long after her mother received treatment for breast cancer.
"[My stepfather] told me when she was out of town that he’d felt a lump in her breast and needed to feel my breasts because he didn’t want to upset her, but he needed to feel mine," DeGeneres explained on Letterman's Netflix series, per Entertainment Tonight.
DeGeneres says the molestation started when was "15 or 16." She told Letterman that she was "angry" that she could not "stand up" to her abuser.
"It’s a really horrible, horrible story and the only reason I’m actually going to go into detail about it is because I want other girls to not ever let someone do that," she added.
It isn't the first time that DeGeneres has spoken out about her history with sexual abuse. In 2005, she detailed the abuse in an interview with Allure. DeGeneres did not reveal her stepfather's name, but stated that he was her mother's third husband and that he is now deceased.
DeGeneres told Letterman the reason she is once again coming out with her story, saying, "When I see people speaking out, especially now, it angers me when victims aren’t believed because we just don’t make stuff up," DeGeneres said. "And I like men, but there are so many men that get away with so much."
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).