ByTommy DePaoli, writer at
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Tommy DePaoli

For years now, Ellen Degeneres has been the go-to comedian when we're craving good-natured laughs without much hard-hitting offense. Her easygoing comedy style makes it all the more surprising when she opens up about anything painful, and this might be her most heartbreaking memory to date.

On Oprah's Master Class, Ellen discussed the first death that really affected her and how she was able to cope. She had recently broken up with a girlfriend, hoping the break would be temporary, when they encountered each other at a local gig where Ellen's brother's band was playing.

Ellen confessed her ex-girlfriend was actively trying to patch things up:

She was trying to get me to come back home. I acted like I couldn't hear her because the music was too loud. I was being really... dismissive of her.

When she couldn't get through to Ellen, the girlfriend decided to leave. Later, when Ellen left, she and her friends noticed a car on the side of the road, frighteningly destroyed and "split in two."

What she found out next would change her life forever


When she awoke the next morning, Ellen discovered that her girlfriend was one of the people in that car, and the collision tragically took her life.

That, of course, made me feel like I should have gone home with her that night... I should have stopped... All kinds of things. A lot of guilt.

While she battled the deluge of emotions that followed, Ellen learned a valuable lesson from the tragedy. She ended up channeling her grief into writing:

In an instant, she just was gone. It shifted my entire focus...I thought, 'It would be great to just pick up the phone and call up God and talk about this.

She ended up imagining just that and drew up a sketch of what it would be like to have a direct link to the big man upstairs, entitled 'Phone Call to God.' The bit that was inspired by the loss of her ex eventually made it on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson a few years later and helped announce Ellen as a comedy force who drew from real, lived experiences.

(Source: The Huffington Post)


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