Ellen DeGeneres Once Recalled Outcome of Helping Her Mom Fight Cancer at 16

Aby Rivas
Feb 25, 2020
04:30 P.M.
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Ellen DeGeneres, one of the most loved talk-show T.V. hosts in the U.S., was still a teenager when her mother, Betty DeGeneres, went through a rough battle with cancer. The gruesome experience only brought the mother-daughter closer.


Ellen DeGeneres has a very tight with her mother, Betty, and together they have faced several trials and tribulations, including Ellen’s coming out as a lesbian in 1997, her claims of being sexually abused by Betty’s second husband, and Betty’s breast cancer diagnose.

DeGeneres at the Emmy Awards, September 1997 | Wikimedia Commons Images



Born to Betty and Elliott Everett DeGeneres in 1958, Ellen was a teenager when her parents divorced in 1973.

Ellen was raised in a Christian Scientist household, a religion that follows a controversial anti-medical dogma.

Since Ellen always mentions how her mother is a breast cancer survivor, and that’s why the cause is so close to her heart, Betty has paid her back the gesture by rallying for a cause that’s important for Ellen: LGBTQ+ rights.

Ellen DeGeneres attends the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 05, 2020 | Photo: GettyImages


Growing up, she and her siblings didn’t have vaccinations or went to the doctor, which is why when Betty found out she had breast cancer, she didn’t share the news with her daughter.

“Everything was a dirty little secret back then,” Ellen told USA Today.

However, Betty had to put aside her beliefs and went under surgery to have a mastectomy, and by that point, she couldn’t keep hiding what was happening anymore.

Betty DeGeneres and Ellen DeGeneres attend The World Premiere of Disney-Pixar’s FINDING DORY on Wednesday, June 8, 2016 in Hollywood, California | Photo: GettyImages


Although Betty had remarried, when she needed help with the rehabilitation process, it was Ellen who volunteered for it.

“The fact that she had a mastectomy was not spoken of,” Ellen recalled. “She tried to shield me from it a little bit, but she needed my help with recovery and physical rehabilitation.”

Of the experience, Ellen said, “It bonded us even more.”

Betty agrees, explaining that her relationship with Ellen is very special, and she doesn’t take it for granted. “We’ve been there for each other,” she stated.

Ellen DeGeneres and her mother, Betty DeGeneres attend the 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on March 21, 2015 | Photo: GettyImages



For years, Ellen has hosted a cancer awareness month on her show every October, raising money for different organizations that work on cancer prevention and research by playing games with her guests and members of her audience

She also invites celebrities and personalities that are cancer survivors or have inspirational stories to share about cancer.

On top of that, Ellen also has special merch that sells on the show’s website for the month, and all proceeds are donated to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.



Since Ellen always mentions how her mother is a breast cancer survivor, and that’s why the cause is so close to her heart, Betty has paid her back the gesture by rallying for a cause that’s important for Ellen: LGBTQ+ rights.

Betty DeGeneres is an outspoken defensor and ally of the LGBTQ+ community, especially when it comes to protecting the youth in that community, and she works closely with the HRC Foundation to cover that matter.

When Ellen came out to her mom at 20 years old, Betty’s first reaction was to hug her, even if the only thing in her mind was that her engagement picture wouldn’t appear in the New Orleans paper so all her friends could see.


Ellen Degeneres and mother Betty De generes is honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on September 4, 2012 | Photo: GettyImages

However, Betty got something better when Ellen’s marriage to Portia de Rossi was in the cover of People magazine and several other news sites back in 2008.



Betty showed her support for Ellen from day one and knowing that her daughter would become an object of discrimination; she didn’t think twice before becoming a “Mom for equality.”

Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Ross, and Betty DeGeneres arrive at the 2007 Vanity Fair Oscar Party at Mortons on February 25, 2007 | Photo: GettyImages


 “I’ve been working with HRC as their spokesperson for a long time, and I’ve seen the direct impact of their work,” Betty told HRC in 2018. “At their annual Time to THRIVE conference this year, for example, I was honored to meet advocates and activists devoted to the well-being of LGBTQ youth.”

She continued explaining that that’s why she got involved in the movement in the first place. She wanted her daughter and other young people to feel safe and included.


“Forty-plus years later, that’s why I’m still here,” she added, and continued:

“These children are the future, and we need to make sure they have allies from all generations, fighting for them and loving them unconditionally as they are.”

Betty was honored with the Upstander Award at the organization’s fifth annual “Time to THRIVE Conference” in February 2018, and her daughter couldn’t be prouder of the work she continues doing for the LBTQ+ community.


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