Ellen DeGeneres Opens Up About How ‘My Girlfriend Was Killed When I Was 20’

Ellen DeGeneres opens up to Dax Shepard about the car accident that took DeGeneres’ girlfriend away from her.

The host of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” sat down with Shepard on his “Armchair Expert” podcast on Tuesday, telling the host about her struggles as a young adult.

“My girlfriend was killed in a car accident when I was like 20-years-old,” DeGeneres revealed. “And I wasn’t doing comedy, I think I was probably waitressing someplace at the time. I was living with her when she was killed.”

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The relationship had a significant impact on the now-daytime talk show host’s career trajectory.

“I couldn’t afford to live where we were living together and so I moved into this tiny little basement apartment,” said 10-time Emmy winner. “I moved into this basement apartment and I was sleeping on a mattress on a floor and it was infested with fleas.”

“And I used to write all the time, I wrote poetry and songs and stuff, and I thought, ‘Why is this beautiful 21-year-old girl just gone and fleas are here?’” she continued.

In fact, it was the death of her girlfriend that she credits for her first-ever and now famous stand-up bit.

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“I just thought it would be amazing if we could just pick up the phone and call up God and ask questions and get an answer,” DeGeneres recalled about her “Phone Call to God” joke.

“It just unfolded, I just wrote the entire thing and when I finished, I read it and I thought, ‘Oh my God, that’s hilarious,” said DeGeneres. “I’m going to do this on Johnny Carson and I’m going to be the first woman in the history of the show be asked to sit down.’”

And that prediction came true: In November 1996, a comedian by the name of Ellen DeGeneres became the first woman be invited to sit down on Carson’s couch after a stand-up routine.

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