Ellen DeGeneres gets honest about being gay, coming out and more on “Oprah’s Master Class”

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This past Sunday night, Ellen DeGeneres appeared on Oprah’s Master Class where she was candid about her childhood, becoming a comedian and what led to her coming out on national television in 1997. It’s a rare thing to see Ellen so open and serious, and the hour spent with her speaking to the camera about her motivations, dreams and sometimes guilt she’s faced is truly a gift for any one who has ever been a fan of the legendary lesbian TV personality.

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In the special, Ellen shares why she wanted to become famous from an early age because then she would be liked, but how her being gay didn’t seem to fit into the idea of “likable.” She also tells a story about her girlfriend dying in a car accident and how it inspired her famous conversation with God that impressed Johnny Carson and landed her the TV shows that would eventually lead to her own.

Ellen says she never thought she’d come out, but after attending a hippie retreat in Big Sur, she decided she didn’t want to feel ashamed about being dishonest when she was asking the general public to like her for who she was: “I didn’t want to pretend to be somebody else anymore. It was the right thing to do for me, and an interesting creative thing to do for television.”

From her “Puppy Episode” to the wider discussions on homosexuality and morality that it sparked nationwide, Ellen opens up about how devastated she was by the cancellation of her series not long after, but how it created an opportunity for her to start over again as her authentic self. And while she can see why some closeted celebrities are selfish or scared to be open about themselves, she felt the obligation.

“I do have a responsibility to be honest about who I am,” Ellen said. “If i’m gonna stand on stage and say, you know, ‘I want you to like me and buy my brand; endorse me because here I am this is me,’ then be all of you.”

OWN has released several segments from the episode, which you can watch below. Otherwise try and catch a re-run. It’s worth it!