Watch Ellen DeGeneres Emotional Goodbye as Talk Show Ends After 19 Years

After 19 seasons dancing up a storm on morning television, Ellen DeGeneres brought her talk show to an end for good on Thursday morning.

The comedian’s final show got off to an emotional start, as her eyes watered walking out onto the stage for the last time, before giving her final monologue. It was a reflective moment for the TV icon, who became a trailblazer for the queer community on the show over nearly two-decades on the air — shortly after the cancelation of her “Ellen” sitcom for being gay.

“Welcome to our very last show, I walked out here 19 years ago and I said that this is the start of a relationship and today is not the end of a relationship, it’s more of a little break,” she began. “It’s, ‘You can see other talk shows now’ and I might see other audiences once in a while.”

“20 years ago when we were trying to sell this show, no one thought that this would work,” she continued. “Not because it was a different kind of show, but because I was different. Very few stations wanted to buy the show and here we are 20 years later celebrating this amazing journey together.”

The host said that when the show started, she was not allowed to say the word “gay” on air. “I said it at home a lot, ‘What are we having for our gay breakfast?’ or ‘Pass the gay salt,'” she joked, before saying that she couldn’t even imply that she was dating anyone at the time. “Sure couldn’t say wife and that’s because it wasn’t legal for gay people to get married and now I say wife all the time,” she added, as the camera cut to wife Portia de Rossi.

“25 years ago they canceled my sitcom because they didn’t want a lesbian to be in primetime once and week, so I said, okay I’ll be on daytime every day, how about that?” she continued.

“What a beautiful, beautiful journey we have been on together,” said DeGeneres, adding that she has done her job if the show made anyone smile or “lifted you up” at times of hardship. “We have been able to change people’s lives and this show has forever changed my life,” said Ellen, getting choked up, “it is the greatest experience I have ever had. Beyond my wildest imagination.”

With that, she and tWitch — and the entire studio audience — danced together for the last time, through tears. The song: “Best of My Love.”

Following interviews with Jennifer Aniston — Ellen’s very first guest in 2003 — as well as P!nk — who performed one of DeGeneres’ favorite songs, “What About Us” — and Billie Eilish, she gave her final sendoff.

After thanking the show’s producers for helping her “shine brighter than I could do it by myself,” she addressed the entire audience at home and in the studio.

“Thank you so much for this platform and I hope that what I’ve been able to do in the last 19 years has made you happy and that I was able to take a little bit of pain away from a bad day and I hope I’ve been able to inspire you to make other people happy and to do good in the world, to feel like you have a purpose,” she said into camera.

“If I’ve done anything in the past 19 years, I hope I’ve inspired you to be yourself, your true, authentic self. If someone is brave enough to tell you who they are, be brave enough to support them, even if you don’t understand. They’re showing you who they are and that is the biggest gift anyone can ever give you” DeGeneres continued. “And by opening your heart and your mind, you’re going to be that much more compassionate and compassion is what makes the world a better place.”

She concluded her show by saying, “Thank you so much for being on this journey with me. I feel the love and I send it back to you, goodbye.”

She then ended the show the same way she started it in 2003, by sitting on a couch and watching herself on TV, before clicking it off.

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