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Ellen DeGeneres: A timeline of her life and career

The TV star’s chat show is ending after nearly two decades.

Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen DeGeneres’ chat show is to end after 19 years on air.

The host broke the news in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter and said she had made the decision because the programme was “just not a challenge any more”.

However, the production faced accusations of a toxic work environment, prompting an internal review by Warner Bros.

Here is a timeline of her life and career:

People’s Choice Awards 2020
(Christopher Polk/E Entertainment/NBCU Photo Bank/polkimaging/PA)

January 26 1958

DeGeneres is born in Metairie, Louisiana, to Elizabeth Jane, a speech therapist, and Elliott Everett DeGeneres, an insurance agent.

March 29 1994

Her sitcom, titled Ellen, begins on ABC and its portrayal of a neurotic bookstore owner in her 30s wins widespread acclaim.

April 1997

DeGeneres comes out during a Time cover interview featuring the words “Yep, I’m Gay”. Ellen Morgan, the character DeGeneres played on her sitcom, also came out as gay in a ratings record-breaking episode.

September 8 2003

The first episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show airs.

February 25 2007

DeGeneres becomes the first openly gay person to host the Academy Awards.

May 2016

Kanye West goes on a seven-minute rant while appearing on her talk show, taking in Twitter and #OscarsSoWhite.

November 2016

DeGeneres receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama.

Barack Obama
Barack Obama (Anthony Devlin/PA)

February 2018

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

January 2019

She interviews Kevin Hart about his decision to pull out as host of the Oscars amid controversy over homophobic tweets he posted almost a decade before.

November 4 2019

The Golden Globe Awards announce they are to honour DeGeneres with a new TV special achievement trophy.

March 13 2020

DeGeneres pauses her chat show due to fears over the Covid-19 pandemic.

July 16 2020

BuzzFeed News publishes an article in which anonymous former employees allege a toxic workplace on the show.

July 31 2020

Warner Bros says it will make staffing changes following an investigation into the claims. DeGeneres apologises to staff in an internal memo.

August 4 2020

Her wife, actress Portia De Rossi, breaks her silence to thank fans for their support and writes on Instagram: “I stand by Ellen.”

Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi
Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi (David Jensen/PA)

September 21 2020

The host addresses the allegations on her chat show, saying: “I learned that things happened here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously and I want to say I am so sorry to the people that were affected.”

November 16 2020

The Ellen DeGeneres Show is named the year’s best daytime talk show at the E! People’s Choice Awards.

December 10 2020

DeGeneres releases a statement saying she has tested positive for Covid-19 but tells fans she is “feeling fine”.

May 12 2021

DeGeneres announces her talk show will end after 19 years, saying the programme was “just not a challenge any more”.

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