Portia de Rossi lived with not only one secret (the anorexia and bulimia that almost killed her) but also the truth she was hiding since she was a teen -- that she was gay.
â€œHaving to hide something like that just ruined me,â€ the Ally McBeal actress told Oprah Winfrey yesterday. â€œIt really, really killed me, because even though I'd gotten to a point where I wasn't ashamed of it anymore, I was doing it for financial reasons. I was doing it so I'd have a career, because there were no lesbian TV actresses ever in history.â€
Portia, who not only appeared on Oprah's show, but will also appear on wife Ellen Degeneres' show to support her new book later this week, said when she was still in the closet, she used to avoid talk shows like the plague.
"I would never do a talk show because I was so terrifiedâ€”especially late night, the male talk show hostsâ€”I was terrified if they would ask me if I had a boyfriend, because I didn't know how to answer that," she said.
And, like many gay actors and actresses, Portia watched her future wife Ellen's coming out on national television in 1997 with special interest.
"[I thought], 'If she went down, there's no way in hell I can come out,'" Portia says. "'If someone as charming and wonderful as Ellen DeGeneres can't pull this off and keep her career, it's not going to work for me.'"
Unfortunately, Ellen's show was canceled just a year later, and Oprah, who played Ellen's therapist on the "coming out" episode said, "I got more hate mail for playing the therapist on that show than Iâ€™d ever received in my entire career â€“ just for playing the therapist."
Portia decided to keep her mouth shut and was consumed by the eating disorder that almost killed her -- at one time DeRossi admits that she weighed just 82 pounds.
But Portia got healthy with the help of her family, and it was when she was her heaviest -- 168 pounds -- that she met Ellen.
"I thought she was the most incredible woman I ever met," Portia told Oprah. "I was very excited to be around her, but there's no way in my mind I would ever think she'd be attracted to me at that weightâ€”but she was."
Today Portia is happy, healthy and enjoying her laid-back life with her wife of two years!