Ellen DeGeneres has announced that she will end her talk show after almost 20 years on air.
The 64-year-old announced in May last year that she would end her show after her reputation took a hit following reports of pay reduction, racism and intimidation toward crew members.
On Thursday, she surprised guests that that would be the last episode to air before sharing how different her first episode was 19 years ago until today.
“Twenty years ago, when we were trying to sell the show, no one thought that this would work. Not because it was a different kind of show, but because I was different,” she said.
“When we started this show, I couldn’t say ‘gay’ on the show. I was not allowed to say ‘gay.’ I said it at home a lot. ‘What are we having for gay breakfast?'”
“We couldn’t say ‘gay.’ I couldn’t say ‘we,’ because that implied that I was with someone.
“I sure couldn’t say ‘wife,’ and that’s because it wasn’t legal for gay people to get married, and now I say ‘wife’ all the time.
“Twenty-five years ago, they cancelled my sitcom because they didn’t want a lesbian to be in primetime once a week. I said, ‘Okay, then I’ll be on daytime every day. How about that?'”
Ellen then asked her DJ, Stephen Boss aka tWitch, for one final dance where the pair boogied in between the audience to Best of My Love by The Emotions.
The host was also joined by Friends star Jennifer Aniston, singer Billie Eilish and Pink who shared memories from their first show.
Ellen then ended the show by thanking her camera crew and audience saying that she hoped she inspired them through her shows.
“If I’ve done anything in the past 19 years, I hope I’ve inspired you to be yourself. Your true, authentic self,” she said.
“And if someone is brave enough to tell you who they are, be brave enough to support them, even if you don’t understand. They’re showing you who they are and that is the biggest gift anybody can ever give you.
“And by opening your heart and your mind, you’re gonna be that much more compassionate. And compassion is what makes the world a better place.
“Thank you so much for being on this journey with me. I feel the love and I send it back to you. Bye.”
This article first appeared on OverSixty.