Ellen DeGeneres on the heartbreaking tragedy she suffered age 20

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Ellen DeGeneres | Photo: The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Ellen DeGeneres has talked about the tragic loss she suffered as a young woman before starting her career in showbiz.

The TV star has explained that when she was 20 she had a girlfriend who died in a car accident.

Ellen told the story on the Armchair Expert podcast, also saying how the grief process went on to inspire her first ever stand up routine.

‘Why is this beautiful, 21-year-old girl gone and fleas are here?’

‘When she was killed, I couldn’t afford to live where we were living together. I moved into this tiny little basement apartment,’ said the star.

‘I was sleeping on a mattress on the floor that was infested with fleas [and] thought: “Why is this beautiful, 21-year-old girl gone and fleas are here?”‘

She furthermore added: ‘I just thought it would be amazing if we could pick up the phone and call up God and ask questions and actually get an answer.’

‘So I started writing. It just unfolded. I wrote the entire thing. When I finished I read it and thought “Oh my god, that’s hilarious.”‘

The star was referring to her first stand up routine ‘Phone Call to God’. She went on to perform it on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1986, kickstarting her career.

Ellen is of course now married to actress and TV star Portia De Rossi [below].

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Ellen DeGeneres came out as gay 20 years ago today

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