Ellen DeGeneres has shared the “horrible story” of being sexually assaulted by her stepfather when she was a teenager.
Speaking to David Letterman for an upcoming episode of his Netflix show My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, the TV chat show host said she wanted to open up about it to help others.
The star said the alleged abuse started after her mother, Betty, was diagnosed with breast cancer, US media reports.
“I’m angry at myself because I was too weak to stand up – I was 15 or 16,” DeGeneres said. “I mean, it’s a really horrible, horrible story and the only reason I’m actually gonna go into detail about it is because I want other girls to not, you know, ever let someone do that.”
DeGeneres spoke out about being sexually abused when she was younger while publicly showing her support last year for Dr Christine Blasey Ford and her accusations against Supreme Court judge Brett Kavanaugh.
However, this is the first time she has gone into detail.
Speaking about her stepfather, who has since died, she said: “He told me when she was out of town that he’d felt a lump in her breast and needed to feel my breasts because he didn’t want to upset her, but he needed to feel mine.”
DeGeneres said he tried again several times, until one time when “he tried to break my door down, and I kicked the window out and ran”.
She said she waited several years to tell her mother, but that she didn’t believe her at the time and stayed married to him for 18 years.
Eventually, DeGeneres said her mother did leave him, “because he’d changed the story so many times”.
DeGeneres told Letterman that too many women were “scared to have a voice”, but now is the time to speak out.
“It is just time for us to have a voice. It’s time for us to have power,” she said.