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Barack Obama Said Some Lovely Things About Ellen DeGeneres And It's Got Us All Emotional

by Pascale Day Published on 23 November 2016

When the likes of Robert De Niro, Tom Hanks and Ellen DeGeneres are in attendance at Prez Obama's last Presidential Medals of Freedom before he leaves the White House, we all knew it was going to be an emotional event. But little did we know that his speech about DeGeneres would be such a tear jerker.

When it comes to the Obamas, we're all feeling a little bit fragile right now. None of us want him to leave the White House, and we're not sure how we're going to get ourselves pumped every Monday without a classic empowering speech from Michelle.

So when we saw Mr Obama's last Presidential Medals of Freedom ceremony, which honoured celebs such as Tom Hanks and everyone's favourite mobster Robert De Niro, we were sad. But it was when the Prez made an impassioned speech about another award recipient, Ellen DeGeneres, we were in pieces.

Obama speech praised DeGeneres decision to come out as gay on her TV show Ellen in 1997. In the coming-out episode, entitled "The Puppy Episode", Ellen's character comes out to her therapist as gay, played by Oprah Winfrey. It was one of the highest rated episodes of the entire series.

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​And while we all look at her relationship with wife Portia de Rossi as the ultimate relationship goals, but it hasn't always been so easy for Ellen - soon after she came out her show was cancelled, and many say it was because the network were uncomfortable with her sexuality. Obama addresses this time:

"It's easy to forget now, when we've come so far, where now marriage is equal under the law, just how much courage was required for Ellen to come out on the most public of stages 20 years ago. Just how important it was, not just to the LGBT community but for all of us to see somebody so full of kindness and light, somebody we liked so much - somebody who could be our neighbour or our colleague or our sister - challenge us on our assumptions, remind us that we have more in common than we realise, push our country in the direction of justice. What an incredible burden that was to bear. To risk your career like that - people don't do that very often.

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"And she did pay a price. We don't remember this. I hadn't remembered it. She did, for a pretty long stretch of time, even in Hollywood. And yet today, every day, in every way, Ellen counters what too often divides us with the countless things that bind us together, inspires us to be better, one joke, one dance at a time."​

N'aww! Ellen didn't let the rejection hold her down for long; she went on to have a chat show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which remains successful to this day, and has had a starring role in the Pixar animation Finding Nemo and the follow-up movie, 2016's Finding Dory. So when Prez Obama presented Ellen with her Medal of Freedom, we can totally see why she shed a tear or two. We might have shed a few, too...

What did you think of Barack Obama's speech? Let us know! @sofeminineUK

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by Pascale Day

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