Oprah guest-starred on Ellen's then sitcom, Ellen, as her character's therapist, which happened to be the episode she came out during the fictional talk therapy session. As a follow-up, the real-life Ellen then appeared on the cover of Time magazine, beneath the famous headline 'Yep, I'm Gay."
What Oprah didn't anticipate, however, is how conservative fans and viewers would react to her being involved.
“It always turns to race. I got all of the, ‘N—–, go back to Africa. Who do you think you are?’” she told The Hollywood Reporter. "It didn’t occur to me that there would be a backlash."
And what a backlash there was! Advertisers pulled ads, the show was cancelled the following season and the entire incident left Ellen rattled when she appeared on Oprah's show in April of 1997.
"She was pretty emotional that day — kind of tense and not fully herself,” Oprah said. “It’s one thing to be ready to step out, it’s another thing to be ready for the thunderous explosion that occurred after she did.”
Thankfully, the story has a happy ending. The Ellen DeGeneres Show is approaching its tenth season and the talk show maven is estimated to garner $50 million from her production company, voice-overs, a Cover Girl contract, record label and various other deals and ventures.