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Even with her sugary TV persona and “be kind” mantra, comedian Ellen DeGeneres, former host of the newly-concluded Ellen DeGeneres Show, has become one of daytime television’s most controversial figures, garnering allegations of questionable — if not alarming — behavior from staffers and guests alike.
Famously disdained by fellow comic Kathy Griffin, as actor Brad Garrett alleged in a since-deleted post that he knew many people “who were treated horribly by her,” it seems even DeGeneres’s own mentee, Greyson Chance, had less-than-stellar comments about the star. In a new interview last month, the artist slammed DeGeneres, stating he had “never met someone more manipulative, more self-centered, and more blatantly opportunistic” than the actress.
But it seems this mean streak doesn’t just appear behind the scenes. Over the years, Ellen’s concerning antics have occasionally cropped up during uncomfortable installments of the daytime television program.
Keep scrolling to shop products inspired by these iconic guests and even more iconic Ellen moments.
Called Out By Dakota Johnson
Of all the famously uncomfortable moments from The Ellen DeGeneres Show, none has become quite as viral as actress Johnson calling out the comic after falsely insisting she was excluded from the 50 Shades of Grey star’s birthday party.
“Actually, no, that’s not the truth, Ellen, you were invited,” Johnson quipped after the comic joked about not being included in the star’s birthday bash. “Last time I was on the show last year, you gave me a bunch of s**t about not inviting you, but I didn’t know you wanted to be invited.”
Upon questioning why Johnson assumed DeGeneres didn’t want to be invited, Johnson shared that she wasn’t sure how the comic felt about her.
“I didn’t even know you liked me,” she stated.
Later in the segment, it was confirmed that DeGeneres was, in fact, invited to Johnson’s party.
The Fifty Shades of Grey / Fifty Shades Darker / Fifty Shades Freed triple DVD set retails for $24.10 at amazon.com.
Nearly Making Taylor Swift Cry
In 2013, DeGeneres brought a young Taylor Swift to the brink of tears amid a “game” in which the artist was instructed the reveal the famous inspirations behind her songs, ringing a bell upon seeing photos of her alleged former flames.
“I don't know if I'm going to do this,” the star said upon hearing the premise of the segment. “This is the one thing that I have, it's like the one shred of dignity that I have,” she continued. “People go and make guesses about it and the only thing that I have is like that one card.”
Despite her clear discomfort and repeatedly asking DeGeneres to end the game — "I don't want to, I don't want to, please stop” she exclaimed at one point — the star appeared to be nearly crying, placing her head in her hands.
“Every time I come up here you make me feel so bad about myself by putting a different dude up there on the screen,” Swift said. “It really makes me question what I stand for as a human being."
Pressuring Mariah Carey Into Revealing Her Pregnancy
Despite all the magic of television, it seems some of DeGeneres’ on-air antics can have real-world consequences, a sad phenomenon best exemplified by pop legend Mariah Carey’s heartbreaking 2008 appearance on the series.
During her stint on the show, DeGeneres pressured the “We Belong Together” songstress into speaking about her pregnancy by persistently offering her alcohol.
“I can’t believe you did this to me, Ellen,” Carey said at the time. “This is peer pressure. What Ellen is doing, this is peer pressure.”
Despite Carey’s clear discomfort with the premise, Ellen kept pushing. “Let’s toast to you not being pregnant,” she said, presenting the singer with a glass of champagne.
After more hounding, Carey conceded, appearing to take a tiny sip of the alcoholic beverage. DeGeneres then to exclaimed that the star was pregnant.
Though the star was, in fact, expecting during the interview, she revealed she miscarried shortly after the segment aired.
“I was extremely uncomfortable with that moment is all I can say,” Carey recalled during a 2020 interview surrounding her time on the talk show, adding that she’s has “had a hard time grappling with the aftermath” of the host’s behavior.
“I wasn’t ready to tell anyone because I had had a miscarriage,” Carey explained. “I don’t want to throw anyone that’s already being thrown under any proverbial bus, but I didn’t enjoy that moment,” she continued, referencing DeGeneres, who was embroiled in controversy at the time.
In 2011, Carey welcomed twins, Moroccan and Monroe, with her then-husband, Nick Cannon.
Grilling Katy Perry About Her Marriage
Back in 2017, an interview with pop star Perry took a turn for the uncomfortable as the actress seemingly refused to believe that the musician was married to comedian Russell Brand in the early 2010s.
It all started when DeGeneres proposed her celebrity guest join her in a game of “‘Will You Perry Me?’ a special, personalized version of her long-running “Who'd You Rather?" segment.
Though upon hearing the title of the game, the pop princess jokingly asked “do I have to get married… again?”, referencing her short-lived relationship, it seems DeGeneres didn’t get the joke — or evidently, do her research when it came to her famed guest.
“You were not married,” the comic fired back.
Though Perry reiterated that she did say “I do” when she was 25, the host was still unconvinced.
“Were you?” She asked again.
“Yeah, it’s been a long time, honey.” The pop star quipped. “No wrinkles, no lines.”
With a few reminders, DeGeneres finally remembered Perry’s former flame. “Oh that’s right, I forgot about Russell,” she said.