Ellen DeGeneres' Final Show Monologue Has Viewers Deep In Their Feelings

When "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" premiered in 2003, its titular host was in the midst of winning a fight to save her career. These days, Ellen DeGeneres continues to be dogged by allegations that her workplace wasn't as happy behind the scenes as it appeared to be on TV. However, in the early aughts, her reputation as a boss had nothing to do with why she was getting negative press.

Shortly after the talk show's debut in 2003, The Boston Globe pointed out how DeGeneres not only played into then-girlfriend Anne Heche's media shenanigans for years but had also fallen victim to didactic ways on her titular sitcom from the 1990s. But "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" was an instant hit, and it even earned DeGeneres the honor of being named one of Entertainment Weekly's Entertainers of the Year. "It took a while to get back on track, but I was able to do it," she told the magazine. "It's been very gratifying."

In its review of the show at the time, The Boston Globe also chastised DeGeneres — not for coming out as gay on the cover of Time magazine in 1997, but for pivoting her comedic tone to a more serious one afterward. In her emotional final monologue, however, DeGeneres spoke from the heart about those very issues.

Ellen DeGeneres observed how much times have changed

In her final monologue, Ellen DeGeneres opened up about how hard it initially was to get stations to carry "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" because she'd come out as gay. She also told her audience, "When we started this show, I couldn't say 'gay' on [air]."

DeGeneres continued, stating, "25 years ago they canceled my sitcom because they didn't want a lesbian to be in primetime once a week, and I said, 'Okay I'll be on daytime every day." But those days are now over, and fans found it difficult to say farewell. "This is the end of an era. There's gonna be a big void in the tv that nobody else can fill," one viewer tweeted. "So bittersweet," another wrote. "Thank you for all the memories and thank you for changing lives!"

As one to break down barriers, DeGeneres made her red carpet debut with wife Portia de Rossi in 2005. But even then, DeGeneres couldn't speak openly about the love of her life on her own show. "I couldn't say 'we' because that implied that I was with someone. Sure couldn't say 'wife,' and that's because it wasn't legal for gay people to get married," DeGeneres recalled. Despite such, in 2008, wife Portia De Rossi appeared on the show for the first time — seven months after she and DeGeneres tied the knot. "I've got to say that was the happiest day of my life," said de Rossi of their wedding.