Ellen DeGeneres is addressing the toxic workplace scandal that resulted in three of her top producers being fired in 2020, as she prepares to wrap up her hit talk show this week after 19 seasons on air.
The 64-year-old television host called the controversy a ‘very, very difficult’ time and said that she had been ‘crying every day’ while filming parts of her last series, the final episode of which airs tomorrow.
However, Ellen also revealed that she had been trying to keep the last two weeks of filming ‘fun,’ because of her ‘struggle with anxiety and depression.’
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter the comedian said she had originally planned to stop the show three years ago, just before the allegations of a toxic environment had come to light, but was talked into staying.
‘They talked me into staying a little longer and I did and it’s fine,’ Ellen informed the publication when asked if she had any ‘regrets’ about her decision to end the series when she did.
‘I was crying every day’: Ellen DeGeneres talks ending her hit show after 19 seasons as she addresses THAT toxic workplace scandal
Referencing the scandal, the veteran star said: ‘There was a lot that happened during that time that was unfortunate but it is what it is — you go through stuff in life and you just keep learning and growing. That’s how I have to look at it.’
Executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman, and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman were fired in 2020 amid allegations of misconduct, sexual harassment, bullying and intimidation on set.
Leman and Norman both strenuously denied the allegations while Glavin did not publicly address the claims.
Ellen apologized following rumors of her own bad behavior including being ‘mean’ to staff, saying at the time: ‘I’m so sorry to the people it affected.’
Emotional: The 64-year-old television host admitted that she has been ‘crying every day’ while filming her last series, the final episode of which airs tomorrow
After continuing the series, the former sitcom star told THR that she believes it is the right time for it to come to an end, saying the world is ‘in a crazy place’ and has become ‘very charged.’
‘But it’s definitely time to stop. And the producers, we’ll all stay in touch. Andy [Lassner, her executive producer] still texts me at least three times a day,’ she said.
Ellen was also asked if she had any regrets about ending the show sooner, which possibly would have avoided the toxic workplace backlash, but she suggested that it had happened for a reason.
‘I have to just trust that whatever happened during that time, which was obviously very, very difficult, happened for a reason,’ she explained.
‘I think that I learned a lot, and there were some things that came up that I was shocked and surprised by. It was eye-opening, but I just trust that that had to happen.’
Going out on a high: Ellen has pulled in big names for her farewell season including Oprah Winfrey, and her last guest will be Jennifer Aniston
When it came to filming the final series, Ellen revealed that it was an emotional process.
‘There was a time a couple of months out where I was crying every day. I was really emotional, even though it was my choice, and it’s the right choice. I knew it was time to end this chapter and to do something different, but still it was really emotional.’
The final episode of the show was pre-taped in April, and Ellen explained how she tried to put herself in a more positive mindset during filming.
‘But I did not want the last two weeks to be about that. I’d meditate every day on my intention and how much I wanted to be present and enjoy it and I wanted that for the audience, too.’
‘I wanted people to be reminded of what we brought to television with the music and the games and everything. It was more of a variety show than anything, and I wanted the last two weeks to be pure fun because I struggle with anxiety and depression and I know how important it is to have an escape.’
What’s next: Ellen and her wife Portia di Rossi will getaway to Rwanda after her final show; pictured 2014
‘We’re reminded every single day of what’s going on in the world, from a sick family member to wars and fires and global warming. There are so many different things that make you sad.
Ellen’s final guest is Jennifer Aniston, who was chosen because the Friends superstar was the first ever guest on the talk show in 2003.
She also welcomed Oprah Winfrey on to her famous couch this week, and the fellow talk show vet offered her some sage advice.
‘She said I won’t really feel it until September, when I’d normally go back [into production],’ Ellen revealed.
As the show comes to a close, the TV star will be spending time in Rwanda with her wife Porta di Rossi, where she has opened an education campus helping save wild mountain gorillas.
Controversy: Ellen announced in May of 2021 the show was ending following complaints of a toxic workplace from staff on the show that led to an internal probe from Warner Brothers