The talk show host was 13 when her parents split after almost 20 years of marriage and she admits she took on the parental role with her mum and had to get rid of some of the "horrible men" who came into the lives.
She told Good Housekeeping magazine: "My mom had some really bad things happen in her life, and she’s a trouper. She’s tougher than I am, I’d say. When my parents divorced, it was my mother and me, by ourselves in an apartment. At that point, we kind of became roommates. I was 13 years old. She’d been married for almost 20 years, and I watched her go through a tough time, trying to date, trying to figure things out.
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"She dated some horrible men whom I had to kick out of the house. So, at 13, I kind of became an adult and was taking care of her … watching her struggle. It made me go, 'Oh, you’re my mom, but you’re just a human being.' I saw her in a different role all of a sudden.”
While her childhood wasn't always idyllic, Ellen – who is married to actress Portia de Rossi – says she's never been happier than she is now.
The 53-year-old revealed: "Well, I’m definitely happier than I’ve ever been. I assume tomorrow I’ll be happier than today, because things are great. I have a great career and I have wonderful fans who really are supportive and loyal - because I’m not hiding anything from them. So, on the spectrum of happiness, I’m pretty high up there."