Afterall, Winfrey remains the person to talk to when there is big news. The two trailblazing women, who built media empires around their talk shows, are also good friends.
DeGeneres has looked to Winfrey both personally and professionally, telling THR’s Lacey Rose who broke the story of DeGeneres’ plan to end her show in 2022 that while she hadn’t asked Winfrey’s advice on the move “we’ve talked about how hard this is.”
“But look at [Winfrey]. She stopped and she didn’t have to do anything again, and she’s done a tremendous amount since then,” DeGeneres told THR. “So, I don’t look at this as the end at all. It’s the start of a new chapter, and hopefully, my fans will go with me wherever I go.”
Turning to Oprah
In 1997, DeGeneres made a bold move that could have easily ended her career.
She came out as a gay woman.
Appearing on the cover of Time Magazine with the words, “Yep, I’m Gay,” DeGeneres was among the few major stars who openly identified as LGBTQ.
DeGeneres leaned into it, with her character Ellen Morgan on her popular sitcom “Ellen” also coming out, in an episode in which Winfrey played her therapist.
The two talked about the massive reaction DeGeneres received at the time.
“Did you expect it to turn into all of this?” Winfrey asked.
“No, no,” said DeGeneres, who was four years into her sitcom success. “I mean, I knew that it would be big, but I had no idea it would be this big.”
Conservative critics sparked a morality debate in response that led to “Ellen” being canceled after five seasons.
But DeGeneres roared back with her daytime talk show in 2003.
There was a time when DeGeneres was viewed as the heir apparent to Winfrey, whose spectacularly successful “The Oprah Winfrey Show” reigned on daytime TV from 1986 to 2011.
Beyond her talk show, DeGeneres has an impressive digital footprint and has launched series “Little Big Shots” and “Ellen’s Game of Games,” as well as films “Sophia Grace & Rosie’s Royal Adventure” and “Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase” under her production company, A Very Good Production.
She’s also hosted the Academy Awards, served as a judge on “American Idol,” won plenty of awards and did a standup special for Netflix.
DeGeneres has her own approach and successes, but has remained consistent in her admiration for Winfrey over the years.
In 2009, DeGeneres launched a campaign to get Winfrey to put her on the cover of her O magazine.
“The campaign was so funny, I actually hesitated to make the call that finally ended it,” Winfrey wrote in the story about their cover shoot.
But in honor of the 1000th episode of “The Ellen DeGeneres” show, Winfrey invited her friend to come share the cover with her.
DeGeneres was thrilled.
“It’s so weird because I love you so much, and to come to this place and do a photo shoot with you — I’m not surprised I had a brightness in my eyes,” she told Winfrey.