Ellen DeGeneres Is Back! Watch Her First Monologue Since Contracting COVID & Fighting Off Massive 'Back Pain'

Back to work! Ellen DeGeneres got candid about her coronavirus battle during the Wednesday, January 13, episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show — and revealed when she learned she had contracted the disease and spoke about the one symptom that would not go away. 

“Happy New Year, this is our first show back in 2021 and so yay,” the 62-year-old began. “Obviously, there are a lot of negative things going on, so instead I want to talk about something positive — my COVID test. It was positive. Yeah, so I tested positive before the holidays. I am fine now, everything is good. I am all clear. I want to thank everyone who reached out with kind words of support. I wish I could have hugged each and every one of you, that would have been dangerous and illegal, probably.

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“This is what happened you guys — I was getting ready to tape the show that you were going to be here for and I was in hair and makeup and getting my face powdered and my extensions put in, and then my assistant Craig walks in and says you tested positive for COVID and then everyone around me ran away. It’s funny, people just really get scared and they ran — and haven’t come back since," she quipped. 

The comedian ensured the audience that the COVID safety team alerted anyone she had been in contact with, and she immediately “left the studio” to quarantine at home. 


“[Her wife] Portia [de Rossi] made me sleep in a different room, on a different bed because she wanted a race car bed all to herself and so I slept the first three days,” DeGeneres said. 

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The talk show host noted that she slept for 16 hours a day. “On the fourth day, I woke up with back spasms and thought I had pulled a muscle or slept weird because I was in a different bed, but it just persisted.” 

She continued, “The doctor put me on pain pills and muscle relaxers. Anyway, the painkillers did not help, my back got worse, it felt like I cracked a rib. You know how I make you laugh so hard that your ribs hurt? That is what it was like for me.” 

Ellen DeGeneres
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The doctors put DeGeneres “on a steroid pack because the other stuff was not working.” Eventually, the Hollywood star decided to “stay on the muscle relaxers and pain pills with the steroid pack to balance it out.” 

However, DeGeneres said she is not sure if that was “the best way” to go about treating the illness. As DeGeneres spoke with more and more people who had COVID, she realized that back pain is something others experienced, too. 

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“That’s the only symptom I had,” she said. “I didn’t have a headache. I didn’t have a fever, I didn’t lose my sense of taste, although I did wear Crocs with socks for a day, so you be the judge. And anyway, I started to feel better and I am very fortunate, very, very blessed and that was it for me.” 


One mystery remains, though — DeGeneres still has no idea how she got sick in the first place. “I don’t know where I got it,” she said. “I wear a mask, I wash my hands, I only lick three or four handles, so it’s a mystery to me how that would happen.” 

Last month, DeGeneres revealed on Twitter that she was diagnosed with the virus. "I want to let you all know that I tested positive for Covid-19," she said. "Fortunately, I’m feeling fine right now. Anyone who has been in close contact with me has been notified, and I am following all proper CDC guidelines. I’ll see you all again after the holidays. Please stay healthy and safe. Love, Ellen."


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