An emotional Ellen DeGeneres says goodbye to her afternoon talkshow audience today after 19 years.
Ellen used her final opening monologue to reflect on the progress that had been made since the series premiered in 2003.
“Twenty-five years ago, they canceled my sitcom because they didn’t want a lesbian to be in prime-time once a week. And I said, ‘OK, then I’ll be on daytime every day.
“Twenty years ago, when we were trying to sell the show, no one thought that this would work. Not because it was a different kind of show, but because I was different. ”
“Very few stations wanted to buy the show, and here we are 20 years later celebrating this amazing journey together,” noting that she “couldn’t say ‘gay’ on the show” when it started. Or – make a reference to her wife, Portia de Rossi, because gay marriage wasn’t legal yet.
Jennifer Aniston, who was a guest on Ellen’s very first episode in 2003, introduced a montage of some of the highlights of the show’s almost two-decade run.
And P!nk, who wrote the talk show’s theme song, appeared to celebrate DeGeneres long run as a daytime host.
At the end of the episode, DeGeneres looked into the camera and holding back tears, thanked everyone for their love along with her hope that she had brought some joy into everyone’s lives as well.
“To all of you who have watched this show and supported me, thank you so much for this platform,” Ellen said. “And I hope that what I’ve been able to do in the last 19 years has made you happy and that I was able to take a little bit of pain away from a bad day or anything you’re going through.”
“If I’ve done anything in the past 19 years, I hope I’ve inspired you to be yourself, your true authentic self,” she continued. “And if someone is brave enough to tell you who they are, be brave enough to support them, even if you don’t understand.”
She then returned to the couch tableau setting that began the show 20 years ago, and Ellen DeGeneres said goodbye.