Celebrating the 20th anniversary of her landmark "Yep, I'm Gay" coming-out episode on her 90s sitcom, Ellen Degeneres looked back with a little help from friends like Oprah Winfrey, Laura Dern and Michelle Obama on the Friday episode of her talk show.
Winfrey and Dern — both of whom guest starred in the iconic 1997 episode in which DeGeneres’ character came out as gay — stopped by The Ellen DeGeneres Show this week to reflect on the moment.
Though Obama couldn’t be there to mark the milestone with DeGeneres in person, the former first lady surprised her friend with an emotional video tribute that aired on her Friday show.
Titled “The Puppy Episode,” the famous moment aired April 30, 1997.
Speaking to the Associated Press, Ellen shared how emotional just saying the words "I'm gay" were for her in rehearsals.
AP: “Ellen” cast member Joely Fisher recalled that you held back from saying the line “I’m gay” in pre-taping rehearsals. Why?
DeGeneres: Because the first time we were blocking it and rehearsing it (the scene), I started to say it and I would tear up. And I realized how charged that sentence was because, you know, when you’re gay, the only time you say “I’m gay” is when you’re revealing it to someone, when you’re telling your parents or when you’re telling someone close to you. Because most people never have to say, “I’m straight.” …. So Laura (guest star Laura Dern) kept saying, “Just don’t say it,” because she saw how hard it was for me.
Hey, @TheEllenShow! I may have schooled you in pushups, but when it comes to courage and kindness, you are always a champ.💪🏿#ThankYouEllen pic.twitter.com/WQOPNKDc6r— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) April 28, 2017