Beloved comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres is getting serious.
In an upcoming interview on David Letterman’s “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction,” DeGeneres opens up about her mother Betty’s marriage to a “very bad man” who sexually assaulted DeGeneres when she was only a teenager.
In the interview, DeGeneres explains to Letterman that at the time, her mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer and had to have one of her breasts removed. DeGeneres revealed that her stepfather used the diagnosis to sexually assault her.
“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,” she tells Letterman.
“I’m angry at myself because, you know, I didn’t — I was too weak to stand up to — I was 15 or 16,” she continues. “It’s a really horrible, horrible story and the only reason I’m actually going to go into detail about it is because I want other girls to not ever let someone do that.”
DeGeneres went on to say explain that he “made me lie down because he said he felt hers while she was lying down.”
She said that she knew that things were going to get much worse so she “had to kick a window out and escape and sleep in a hospital all night long.”
DeGeneres added that she is hoping her story will help others who are victims of sexual assault to feel encouraged to come forward.
“We [women] just don’t feel like we’re worthy, or we’re scared to have a voice, and we’re scared to say no,” she says. “That’s the only reason I think it’s important to talk about it because there’s so many young girls and it doesn’t matter how old you are. When I see people speaking out, especially now, it angers me when victims aren’t believed, because we just don’t make stuff up. And I like men, but there are so many men that get away with so much.”
“It is just time for us to have a voice,” she adds. “It’s time for us to have power.”
Season 2 of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction launches May 31 on Netflix.