Ellen DeGeneres’s mother, Betty, has spoken out for the first time about dismissing her daughter’s sexual abuse claims.
In an interview for David Letterman’s Netflix series, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, Ellen shares the allegation that she made public in 2005, that she was abused by her stepfather when she was 15.
The 61-year-old said that her mother disbelieved her, and continued their marriage for 18 more years, but divorced him after “he’d changed the story so many times.”
Betty has spoken about the horrific account that Ellen gave, saying, “I know now that one of the hardest things to do is speak up after being sexually abused. I love my daughter, and I wish I 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. If someone in your life has the courage to speak out, please believe them.”
According to Ellen, her stepfather used Betty’s breast cancer as a way to abuse her, by saying due to her mother finding a lump in her breast, he wanted to examine Ellen’s.
The abuse escalated; one evening, he tried getting into the bedroom, and the only way of escaping was for Ellen to kick out the window, which led her to stay in a hospital overnight.
Explaining to David that she never let the abuse “get to [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.’ — she’s apologetic, but, you know.”
By the time she plucked up the courage to speak publicly about the history of sexual abuse in Allure magazine, her former stepfather had deceased prior to that.
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