In a new episode of David Letterman’s interview show “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction”, Ellen DeGeneres reveals details of the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her stepfather.
Now, DeGeneres’ mother, Betty DeGeneres has released a statement about her daughter’s horrifying revelation.
In the statement to Today, Betty says, “I know now that one of the hardest things to do is speak up after being sexually abused. I love my daughter, and I wish I had the capacity to listen to her when she told me what happened.”
She continues, “I live with that regret, and I wouldn’t want that for any other parent. If someone in your life has the courage to speak out, please believe them.”
In her Letterman interview, DeGeneres said that her stepfather began abusing her at 15, using the fact that her mother had then recently been diagnoses with breast cancer and had a mastectomy.
“He told me when she was out of town that he’d felt a lump in her breast and needed to feel my breasts,” DeGeneres explained. “Anyway, he convinced me that he needs to feel my breasts and then he tries to do it again another time, and then another time.”
DeGeneres said that she told her mother years later, but was not believed. Her mother stayed with her stepfather, leading to a strained relationship.
“I should never have protected her. I should have protected myself and I didn’t tell her for a few years and then I told her,” she said. “And then she didn’t believe me, and then she stayed with him for 18 more years. And finally left him because he’d changed the story so many times.”
DeGeneres added, “I didn’t really let it get to me. Until recently, I kind of went, ‘I wish I would have been better taken care of. I wish she would have believed me.’ And she’s apologetic, but, you know.”