Ellen DeGeneres became the undisputed queen of American TV based on her reputation as an everywoman – the friendly celebrity with a ‘be kind’ mantra who loved to dance with her A-list pals in front of a global audience.
The problem though is that carefully crafted on screen appearance was a complete myth.
‘I just want people to trust and know that I am who I appear to be,’ she begged in an emotional exit interview with the Hollywood Reporter today.
But that’s the issue. Ellen wasn’t the Little Miss Nice her TV producers would have had you believe, she was a prickly comedienne who could be cruel to stars she took against and whose show was home to a difficult working environment.
Her downfall is a lesson to all TV celebrities: Just be yourself. Stop selling a fake image of perfection to the public because when you’re found out they won’t forgive you, as the plummeting ratings for Ellen’s show attest.
Ellen DeGeneres (pictured) became the undisputed queen of American TV based on her reputation as an everywoman
The problem though is that carefully crafted on screen appearance was a complete myth, writes DAN WOOTTON
DailyMail.com’s exclusive revelation that Ellen’s talk show is ending after 19 years and 3,000 episodes would have been a total bombshell just a couple of years ago.
The fawning Hollywood press releases hastily sent out after we revealed the news would have you believe this decision is all down to the star deciding to sign off. There were all the usual platitudes – she wants more time with her wife Portia de Rossi, and will focus on her stand-up career and charity projects.
While there’s no doubt Ellen doesn’t need the money and was long tired of the 180-show-a-year grind, let’s get real about the fact that there was no choice about whether to sashay off into the sunset.
Viewers made the decision for Ellen and the show’s producer Warner Brothers.
Such a big money production would not have remained viable given the mass switch off following the revelations about some aspects of Ellen’s personality and the show’s backstage culture.
She’s lost 59 per cent of viewers in Los Angeles alone, the very city where she films the show.
Now let me be clear, Ellen is not an especially bad person. She’s just like virtually every Hollywood celebrity: A highly demanding diva who expects things done her way at all times.
This woman is an actress who makes $85 million a year, for God’s sake. To think she’s anything like you or me is absurd.
She wasn’t that nice to Taylor Swift in 2013 when she pressed the popstar about her celebrity boyfriends (pictured together)
The problem is that when stories started emerging viewers were shocked because they’d bought into the image of the Ellen portrayed on her chat show.
They genuinely believed Ellen was just like one of their real-life mates: Down to earth, fun and nice to everyone. After all, that was the whole point of her TV show.
In fact, there were many times when Ellen was anything but a representation of the ‘pure joy’ she loves to talk about at every possible opportunity.
She certainly wasn’t purely joyful to the actress Dakota Johnson whose awkward encounter with Ellen over an ignored birthday invite in November 2019 first sparked the slew of negative stories.
She wasn’t that nice to Taylor Swift in 2013 when she pressed the popstar about her celebrity boyfriends. ‘Do you know how bad this makes me feel?’ Taylor groaned painfully.
Or Katy Perry in May 2017 when Ellen pressed the singer about her marriage to Russell Brand. After a particularly tense exchange, Ellen reassured Katy: ‘That will be cut out.’ But the entire interview was broadcast.
Or Celine Dion who she challenged in 2007 for failing to cut her son’s hair.
There are countless other examples.
Ellen wasn’t the Little Miss Nice her TV producers would have had you believe, she was a prickly comedienne who could be cruel to stars she took against and whose show was home to a difficult working environment
While Ellen denies many of the accusations made against her as ‘ridiculous’, especially one claim that people had to chew gum before they spoke to her, she did admit today that her private behaviour didn’t always match her persona.
When asked by the Hollywood Reporter what she had learned from the backlash, she said: ‘Well, you realise that every single encounter means something. And if, for whatever reason, one day I wasn’t dancing when I’m in the dry cleaners or I didn’t smile at somebody, it’s like, ‘Oh, did that affect somebody? Was that what they meant?’
And I don’t know but I know that I’m just a person with a lot of different emotions and I struggle with depression and with anxiety. So, every day I’m not super smiley, but my intention is never to hurt anyone. And I’ve also looked at it, going, ‘Okay, can I be more present because this one-minute encounter is going to impact somebody in a certain way.’
Ellen isn’t learning from her mistakes here – she’s actually setting herself an impossible standard.
I adore stars like Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, Naomi Campbell, Madonna and Simon Cowell who fully appreciate they can be difficult divas at times and make that a part of their public persona.
No one is going to cancel Mariah for dressing down a hapless staffer or turning up eight-and-a-half hours late to a meeting, as she once did with me! It’s what we expect from those personalities.
You should only act like you are saccharin sweet on screen if you’re prepared to back it up with actions when the cameras stop rolling.
Ellen failed on that front and the viewing public forced the cancellation of her show in the ultimate act of consumer power.