ELLEN REVEALS HIDDEN AGONY

Published on: May 31, 2005

Funny lady Ellen De- Generes has broken her 30-year silence about the sexual abuse she suffered as a teenager. "I had a situation with my stepdad when he molested me," the talk show host revealed.

Ellen's ordeal occurred when she was 17 and living in Texas with her mother Betty and her mother's third husband, salesman Roy H. Grussendorf. The abuse took place right after her mother underwent a mastectomy due to breast cancer.

In a recent interview Ellen, 47, recalled how she kicked out a window to escape her tormentor's clutches.

Said Ellen: "My mother's husband said he felt a lump in her other breast. But he didn't want to alarm her so he needed to feel mine so he could compare. He made me lie down and I let him feel my breasts. A few weeks later, he tried to do it again, and I kept saying, 'No! You can't keep doing this!'

"One night he tried to break down the door to my bedroom... I had to kick a window out and escape. I felt like an idiot because I should have known better."

Ellen said she came forward because she feels it's important for teenage girls to learn that there are different ways to say "no" to their abusers. Ellen also feels that her cautionary tale supports her optimistic outlook on life.

"Someone once told me that a broken heart leaves cracks so that the light can come in. I feel like it did that for me," said Ellen.

Grussendorf -- whom Ellen pointedly refers to as her mother's husband instead of calling him her stepfather -- is dead now. But Ellen is still affected by what he did to her, enough to bring tears to her eyes when she talks about it.

Ellen said: "I was trying to protect my mom instead of myself.

"She had just gotten married, had breast cancer, and to tell her horrible things her husband was doing to me -- I thought it would devastate her.

"But when you're a teen, there are always different circumstances and it's important for teenage girls to hear that there are different ways to say no. And if it ever happens to them, they should tell someone right away."

A friend noted that Ellen has flourished since her troubled childhood.

Said the friend: "She's come to terms with being gay, she's found a love she hopes will last forever -- but being abused by a man who's married to your mother isn't something you just put away and forget.

"Ellen is a very kind, loving person. Just look at her romantic history. You see that she's always looking for a long-term relationship."

Ellen admits to being a "serial monogamist." She was with producer Theresa Boyd for four years, lived with actress Anne Heche for three and with photographer Alexandra Hedison for four.

The comedian now lives in a sprawling Los Angeles compound with 32-year-old Arrested Development actress Portia de Rossi, whom she calls "the sweetest girl in the world." She prays they will be together the rest of their lives.

In 1997 the comic-actress shocked America when she revealed in a national television interview that she was gay at the same time her character on the TV series Ellen came out of the closet.

The comedy show was soon cancelled. After a string of forgettable movies she returned to prominence playing the voice of Dory in the animated mega hit movie Finding Nemo.

Then in 2003 Ellen launched The Ellen DeGeneres Show -- nominated for 11 Daytime Emmys.

Said the friend: "With all the personal and professional success she's had, Ellen is still brought to tears when she remembers the lowest point of her life -- when she was forced to live with her mother and a man she couldn't stand the sight of."
mizrahi@nationalenquirer.com