Ellen DeGeneres has described being sexually assaulted by her stepfather as a teenager.
The 61-year-old made the claims on Netflix’s My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman where she said that he groped her breasts several times when she was a young teenager by claiming to be looking for lumps.
Ellen’s mother Betty, who is a breast cancer survivor, did not initially believe her when she told her and stayed with him for 18 years.
She did not name her stepfather during the interview. In 1973, when Ellen was the age she was when she says the attack happened, her mother married Texas salesman Roy Grussendorf. He died in 1997.
On the show, DeGeneres recalled how her stepfather pretended to be checking her breasts for lumps when the alleged abuse began.
‘He 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.
Ellen DeGeneres claimed that she was sexually assaulted by her stepfather when she was a teenager and says her mother Betty (pictured together in 2016) did not initially believe her. Betty stayed with the ‘very bad man’ for 18 years then left him
Ellen, now 61, said the abuse happened when she was ’15 or 16′. She is shown above at that age
‘Again, because I didn’t know about bodies, I don’t know that breasts are all different and… Anyway, he convinced me that he needs to feel my breasts and then he tries to do it again another time, and then another time.
‘He tries to break my door down, and I kicked the window out and ran cause I knew it was going to go more to something… and I didn’t want to tell my mother cause I was protecting her and I knew that would ruin her happiness,’ she said.
She added that while her mother Betty is ‘apologetic’ about everything now, she did not believe her when she initially confided in her a few years after the incident.
Betty stayed with the man for 18 years. DeGeneres has said in past interviews that she eventually left him after his story changed several times and she realized he had abused her daughter.
Ellen explained: ‘I’m angry at myself because, you know, I didn’t… I was too weak to stand up to… I was 15 or 16.
He tries to break my door down, and I kicked the window out and ran cause I knew it was going to go more to something… and I didn’t want to tell my mother cause I was protecting her and I knew that would ruin her happiness
‘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, you know, ever let someone do that…
‘I should never have protected her. I should have protected myself and I didn’t tell her for a few years and then I told her.
‘And then she didn’t believe me and then she stayed with him for 18 more years. And finally left him because he’d changed the story so many times.’
Of her mother, she said: ‘I always have taken care of her my whole life. So I just kept taking care of her.
‘I didn’t really let it get to me. Until recently, I kind of went, “I wish I would have been better taken care of. I wish she would have believed me.’
‘And she’s apologetic, but, you know…’
DeGeneres made the revelation during an interview with David Letterman on his Netflix show, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction
Ellen previously spoke of being sexually abused when she was 15 while criticizing anyone who did not believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and her accusations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
This is the first time she has shared details of the alleged assault.
She said she decided to speak out because ‘we [women] just don’t feel like we’re worthy, or we’re scared to have a voice, and we’re scared to say no.
Despite her mother not believing her for years about the abuse, DeGeneres says they have a good relationship and she is ‘apologetic’
‘That’s the only reason I think it’s important to talk about it because there’s so many young girls and it doesn’t matter how old you are.
‘When I see people speaking out, especially now, it angers me when victims aren’t believed, because we just don’t make stuff up. And I like men, but there are so many men that get away with so much.
‘It is just time for us to have a voice. It’s time for us to have power.’
It is not the first time DeGeneres has spoken of the abuse.
In 2005, she told Allure that she was assaulted by her stepfather ‘when she was 16 or 17’.
She also made the same claims in 2007, in an interview with Barbara Walters.
‘My mother had just had a mastectomy. She had breast cancer and he told me that he felt another lump in her other breast and he needed to feel mine.
‘Reluctantly, I let him and then it escalated to more and more, trying to do more, and then she was out of town and one night tried to break the door down when I was sleeping and I had to kick the window open and go sleep in a hospital over night.
‘It’s a small town, I couldn’t tell people why I was there. He was a horrible, horrible man.
‘She didn’t believe me and then his story kept changing through the years and she realized he was lying,’ she said.
Her interview is one of many in the second series of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman which will launch on Netflix on Friday.