Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen DeGeneres is a source of joy and inspiration for millions of people around the globe. Yet, despite her sunny disposition and uncanny ability to make us laugh, the comedienne has struggled with depression.

In a revealing interview, DeGeneres recalled going into a deep depression after coming out of the closet on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1997. After coming out as a lesbian, DeGeneres was completely ostracized by the media. She was relentlessly made fun of on every late-night television show. Understandably, she was deeply hurt that so many people were putting her down and making jokes at her expense.

Ellen’s decision to publicly come out was a landmark moment for the LGBT community. Over the years, DeGeneres has been a tireless advocate for LGBT rights, and her courage has inspired countless others. Yet, it’s important to remember things were a lot different in 1997 than they are today—and not always in a good way. After Ellen came out, her career tanked virtually overnight, and her show was canceled. With her show canceled, and virtually everyone on television making fun of her, she was suddenly perceived as a failure.

Fortunately, Ellen’s career has come a long way since then. In 2016, then-President Barack Obama awarded DeGeneres the presidential Medal of Freedom for her courage and dedication to equal rights. As Ellen’s remarkable success illustrates, even the darkest times don’t last forever, and there is a light at the end of every tunnel.

Photo source: Ellen DeGeneres by Scott Suchman/PBS PressRoom