10 Things You Didn’t Know about Portia De Rossi

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10 Things You Didn’t Know about Portia De Rossi

Portia De Rossi

Australian- American actress Portia De Rossi first came to the public’s attention in the 1994 film, Sirens. Since then, she’s starred in everything from Ally McBeal to Arrested Development, Nip/Tuck to Better off Ted, Sean Saves the World to Scandal. In 2018, she announced her decision to retire from acting (save from the occasional appearance in Arrested Development). Her decision may have seen her appear less on our screens, but it’s done little to dampen the media’s interest in her personal life. Thanks to her high-profile marriage to comedian and TV talk show host, Ellen DeGeneres, the actress is rarely out of the gossip columns, with new allegations of trouble in the De Rossi/ DeGeneres household emerging on an ever more frequent basis. So far, the couple has always managed to put the rumors to bed- whether they’ll be as successful in dismissing the latest wave of allegations, only time will tell.

1. She fell in love with Ellen at first sight

Although it took some time for De Rossi and DeGeneres to get together after they first met, for De Rossi, it was a case of love at first sight. During their first interview as a married couple, the actress spoke to Oprah Winfrey about why it took so long to admit her true feelings for the talk show host. “[I knew DeGeneres was the one] when I first laid eyes on her, but it took me three years to actually tell her how I felt about her because I was on Ally McBeal at the time and I was not living as an openly gay person,” she shared. “I was closeted and very, very afraid that if I talked about being gay, it would be the end of my career, so I wasn’t about to date the most famous lesbian in the world.”

2. She’s alleged she was harassed by Steven Seagal

In 2017, De Rossi added her voice to the growing #MeToo movement when she revealed she’d once been harassed by Steven Seagal. In a tweet, De Rossi alleged that during a final audition for one of his films, Segaal told her how important he felt off-screen chemistry was, before proceeding to unzip his trousers and expose himself. De Rossi’s allegation wasn’t the first time Seagal has been accused of such behavior: in 2010, he was sued by his former assistant Kayden Nguyen for human trafficking and sexual harassment.

3. She’s a vegan

While she’s always loved animals, De Rossi never had any hesitation in eating meat until she and DeGeneres moved to a farm in California. After witnessing how her new animals interacted with each other, the actress found herself eschewing meat for the first time. Over the next year, she gradually stopped eating any animal products at all and is now a fully committed vegan.

4. Horse riding helped her overcome an eating disorder

During her time on Ally McBeal, fans became increasingly concerned for De Rossi’s health as her weight seemed to plummet lower and lower as the seasons progressed. The actress has since been open about her struggles with anorexia and credits her recovery to her love for horse riding. “People ask me how I recovered from my eating disorder, and I have to say that horses really helped me. It shifted my focus and got me out to nature,” she told USA Today. “It was a passion and interest that was completely outside myself. It made me lighten up on everything.”

5. She announced her retirement from acting in 2018

In May 2018, De Rossi used an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to announce her decision to retire from acting (although she was quick to appease fans by confirming she’d make an exception for Arrested Development). “I was approaching 45 and I was just wondering, is there something that I could tackle now that I’ve never done before that would be very challenging and different,” she explained. “I kind of knew what acting would look like for me for the next 10, 20 years, so I decided to quit and start a business.”

6. She owns an art curation and production company

One of the primary reasons acting has taken a back seat in De Rossi’s life over the past few years is down to her new focus on General Public, an art curation and production company she launched in 2018. The company creates reproductions of original artworks from a group of new and established talent. “Our motto is ‘support artists, not art,’ ”De Rossi explained to Vogue. “With General Public, we not only allow painters the ability to maximize their profitability as an artist, but we are also able to better provide the people who appreciate these artists the opportunity to own and enjoy their works.”

7. She changed her name in 2010

Shortly after the Supreme Court of California acknowledged the status of same-sex marriages in 2008, De Rossie and DeGeneres married in a small, private ceremony. Two years later, the actress proved her commitment to her new wife when she legally changed her name to Portia Lee James DeGeneres (although she continued to use the name Portia de Rossi professionally).

8. She’s faced divorce rumors for years

Despite sharing one of the longest and most successful relationships in Hollywood, De Rossi and DeGeneres have been plagued by divorce rumors for years. Both have repeatedly slammed the gossip, with DeGeneres telling People magazine, “There’s not one ounce of truth to any of it. I am very happily married. The only thing we ever argue about is who loves who more, it really is true.” The most recent rumors of a rift emerged in July 2019; this time around, it’s the actress’s alleged “refusal” to have a baby that’s been floated as the reason for the “split”.

9. She’s been married twice

In 1996, De Rossi married the documentary maker Mel Metcalfe. The marriage lasted for four years, but they eventually split in 1999. In 2001, she began dating director Francesca Gregorini, the daughter of Barbara Bach and the stepdaughter of Ringo Starr. After pictures of the couple emerged, De Rossi faced an onslaught of media attention but declined to either confirm or deny her sexuality. The couple continued to date until De Rossi hooked up with DeGeneres in 2004.

10. She supports numerous good causes

De Rossi clearly feels the need to use her celebrity status for good, and over the years, has been involved in various good works. As well as supporting The Gentle Barn, a sanctuary for abused animals, she’s also lent her time (and money) to Locks of Love, a group which makes horse-hair wigs for children with alopecia, FXB International, an African aids foundation, and The Art of Elysium, an art charity for ill children.

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