Portia De Rossi Gets Real About How Relationship Rumors Affect Her Marriage To Ellen DeGeneres

by Sophy Ziss
Christopher Polk/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Some celebrities will do just about anything to avoid discussing their relationships to the media, but for Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi, that's not always the case. According to UsWeekly, the Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi relationship rumors actually kind of make the couple happy. De Rossi spoke with the magazine at the General Public x RH Celebration in West Hollywood on June 27, where she expressed her unusual attitude towards tabloid fodder. It stands to reason that most celebrities would tire of having a relationship speculated about in the press, but — at least for a little while — de Rossi and DeGeneres actually saw the rumors as a milestone for Degeneres and de Rossi.

De Rossi married DeGeneres, widely regarded for helping reshape attitudes toward LGBT representation in the media in the late '90s, in 2008, long before gay marriage was legal for most of the country. According to de Rossi, the ensuing rumor mill about a possible split or pregnancy felt like a shift in positive shift in representation. In de Rossi's eyes, rumors of her impending divorce or other typical drama was a sign that their relationship had been normalized. Finally, they could be speculated about just as much as any other couple. “The divorce rumors came and then we really knew the perceptions had changed," de Rossi explained, adding:

"I’m not kidding. I know it sounds ridiculous, but when that started happening I thought, ‘Oh, now we’re finally accepted.’ We get the same sh*t as every celebrity couple.”

In addition to rumors of a divorce, she personally experienced tabloids speculating on whether or not she was pregnant, among other things. But it wasn't all bad. “I thought, ‘Wow, this is great that I’m pregnant, not pregnant, divorced, not divorced, whatever,'" she recounted. "That means there is an acceptance for this.”

As the actor admitted to UsWeekly, it's not all a joke. Like any other celebrity couple, they're constantly faced with a barrage of rumors — from harmless to straight-up insulting — and at this point, try to steer clear of them altogether. For example, de Rossi notes the potential toxicity of tabloid culture, citing a former celebrity couple that broke up close to 15 years ago, but still can't escape the rumor mill:

“I was at a newsstand … and there was a cover of Brad [Pitt] and Jen [Aniston],” she recalled. “I literally just stared at it, and I was like, ‘They haven’t seen each other. … How is this even a thing? I know for a fact.’ … I actually took a picture of it and sent it to Ellen and said, ‘Can you believe this?’ Anyway, no, in other words, we avoid it. We don’t care.”

So, obviously, there are ups and downs to being subject to the tabloids. On the one hand, Degeneres and de Rossi being dissected by the media seems to have been important to them, as they feel their relationship has been normalized by it. On the other, it's still an invasive and often offensive tabloid practice, even if the LGBTQIA+ representation is important.

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And, if fans are worried about the state of her marriage, de Rossi's quote about her birthday gift to DeGeneres should be more than enough to counteract any new rumors of divorce. As a surprise gift to her wife of 10 years, de Rossi created The Ellen Degeneres Wildlife Fund, which will help to preserve endangered species on the continent of Africa (with an emphasis on gorillas). “I thought this was a big birthday, 60, and she’s not going to do her talk show forever," she told the magazine. "And I want her to be able to look forward to retiring, to know that there was something... that she could sink her teeth into."

That doesn't sound like an unhappy couple that needs to be obsessed over in the tabloids, now does it?