Twenty years ago, during a walk on a Mississippi beach, Ellen DeGeneres spoke those simple, powerful words to her mother. That emotional moment eventually brought mother and daughter closer than ever, but not without a struggle. Coming from a republican family with conservative values, Betty needed time and education to understand her daughter's homosexuality - but her ultimate acceptance would set the stage for a far more public coming out, one that would change history.
In Love, Ellen, Betty DeGeneres tells her story; the complicated path to acceptance and the deepening of her friendship with her daughter; the media's scrutiny of their family life; the painful and often inspiring stories she's heard on the road as the first non-gay spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaigns National Coming Out Project.
With a mother's love, clear
More than 20 years have passed since Ellen DeGeneres came out to her mother on a beach in Mississippi. Stunned, Betty DeGeneres could only think of her own disappointed expectations. As she put her arms around her daughter, she was struck by the realization that she would never see Ellen's picture on the engagements page of the Times-Picayune, her local paper. That Ellen would eventually appear on the front page of the Picayune and countless newspapers and magazines around the world is an irony not lost on her mother: "If I had known she was going to grow up to be Ellen DeGeneres," Betty quips, "I would have taken more pictures."
Now the spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign's National Coming Out Project, Betty DeGeneres travels the country explaining how she came to terms with her daughter's sexuality, and how love and acceptance can transform a family. Love, Ellen is an extension of her warm and much-admired public speaking, providing insight into her own life as well as Ellen's and arguing for further education, compassion, and the passage of antidiscrimination laws. --Regina Marler