In 2016, being gay and a working actor is a completely achievable dichotomy. In 1997, as Ellen Degeneres can attest to, that wasn't necessarily the case.

The comedian, who's developed into one of the most iconic talk show hosts in television history, says the choice to publicly address her sexuality in the '90s came at a real cost. A year after her announcement, ABC canceled her eponymous sitcom, and she told Out in a new interview that the show's end was just one of many consequences to come.

"I was the punch line of lots of jokes,” she said, adding she was "at rock bottom and out of money." “I laughed at some, but I realized there’s somebody on the other side of them. It’s cruel. I’ve never liked mean comedy, but that became even more important to me after I was the brunt of it."

Still, from the struggle came enlightenment, and Degeneres said the experience of falling on her face taught her the value of getting back on her feet.

"I wasn’t sure if I was going to work again, and although I was out, I was still trying to alter myself — not dressing the way I wanted to dress or wearing my hair the way I wanted to," she said. "I slowly gained the confidence to be authentic, and what I’ve learned about other people is that they strive to be authentic, too. So whether they fully support me, love my lifestyle, or love that I’m married to a woman, I think they like that authenticity, and they’re drawn to it."

Ellen is now in its 14th season — guess it's safe to say the philosophy worked.

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