1997

Ellen DeGeneres

May 05

Ellen and Anne

Actress Anne Heche, 27, and DeGeneres, 39, who met at the Vanity Fair post-Oscars party in March, announce their relationship to PEOPLE. "When I saw Ellen across the room, I just, like, swung across on the chandelier, and dropped down beside her. Our souls connected," Heche tells Oprah. "I don't feel like I'm gay," adds Heche, who has been with men in the past. "I just feel like I'm in love."

1999

On the Silver Screen

DeGeneres appears in two movies – Ron Howard's Edtv, and The Love Letter. Edtv, starring Matthew McConaughey, is a critical success, but The Love Letter is forgettable.

2000

August 18

The End of the Affair

After 3½ years together, Heche and DeGeneres announce that they've broken up. Heche is found behaving strangely on the outskirts of Fresno, Calif., and is briefly hospitalized. The following year, she marries cameraman Coleman Laffoon.

Ellen DeGeneres

October

Mama Approves

DeGeneres quickly finds new love. Her mother Betty tells the New York Post that DeGeneres has a new girlfriend: 31-year-old actress/photographer Alexandra Hedison. "As a mother, I'm just happy to see my child happy," Betty says, "so much has happened to Ellen, she's been so devastated."

2001

September 24

Ellen, Part II

DeGeneres plays another lesbian named Ellen in CBS' The Ellen Show. "A lot of the humor on sitcoms comes from being sarcastic and mean-spirited," she tells The New York Times. "I just have never liked that. I like things that are funny because they're silly or because they're smart." Her show is scheduled Fridays at 8:30 p.m. and is canceled three months later.

Ellen DeGeneres

November 04

A Spoonful of Ellen

The Emmys are delayed twice after 9/11, but CBS and the Academy promise a show that will "reaffirm the spirit of the American people." In her second turn hosting, DeGeneres is lauded for her deft, sensitive performance. "I felt it was important for me to be here tonight," she says during the telecast, "because what would bug the Taliban more than seeing a gay woman in a suit surrounded by Jews?" DeGeneres gets a standing ovation at the close of the ceremony.

2003

May 30

The Life Aquatic

DeGeneres voices Dory, a neurotic fish with a memory problem, in Disney's Finding Nemo. The movie grosses more than $860 million worldwide and wins Best Animated Feature at the Oscars. "I wrote it completely with [Ellen] in mind," Nemo director Andrew Stanton tells the Chicago Sun-Times.

Ellen DeGeneres

September 08

Comeback Kid

The Ellen DeGeneres Show launches DeGeneres back into the national spotlight. Her dance moves, A-list guests and deadpan comebacks earn her multiple Daytime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Talk Show and Outstanding Host. "I want the show to reach people and to be something positive," she tells W. "[in 1998], I lost my show, I lost my entire career, and I lost everything for three years. I got to learn that I was strong enough to start over again."

2004

Ellen DeGeneres

November 08

Hawking AmEx

American Express signs DeGeneres as one of its spokespeople for a global ad campaign. Photographer Annie Leibovitz shoots the print ads, and humorous TV commercials feature DeGeneres dancing and working with animal colleagues.

Ellen DeGeneres

December

Merry-Go-Round

Just as their relationship is ending, DeGeneres, 46, and girlfriend Hedison are featured on the December cover of the gay lifestyle magazine Advocate. At the VH1 Big in '04 awards on Dec. 1, actress Portia de Rossi, 31, and DeGeneres click, and the two newly single actresses connect.

Photo Credits

BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): REX USA; Michael Caulfield/WireImage; KEVIN WINTER/IMAGE DIRECT; Warner Bros/Everett; American Express/WENN; JEFF KRAVITZ/FILM MAGIC

Name
Ellen DeGeneres
Date of Birth
January 26, 1958
Birth Place
Metairie, La.
Relationships
Portia de Rossi, wife (Dec. 2004 to present)
Alexandra Hedison, ex-girlfriend (Oct. 2000 to Dec. 2004)
Anne Heche, ex-girlfriend (March 1997 to Aug. 2000)
Kathy Perkoff, girlfriend (1970s to 1980)
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Edited by Julia Wang

Ellen DeGeneres

Celebrity Central / Top 25 Celebs

 

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