While Ellen Degeneres may be a figure of hope and happiness to many people, her journey to stardom has hardly been an easy one. She opened up to Dax Shepard about how her career failed after coming out as gay, and the heartbreak she suffered within her own love life.

Portia de Rossi and Ellen DeGeneres at the People's Choice AwardsPortia de Rossi and Ellen DeGeneres at the People's Choice Awards

The 60-year-old has always been candid about her sexuality since coming out on the sitcom 'Ellen' in 1997. But that doesn't mean it was easy for her afterwards. In fact, her honesty almost derailed her career, and while everybody loves and accepts her now, back then she was considered a big joke.

'[The show's producers] really didn't want me to come out', she explained on The Armchair Expert podcast. 'They finally let me come out and it was a huge success the night of. It was celebrated, it was 45 million people that watched, and then they just stopped promoting it because everybody was scared.'

'During that time, because there was so much talk about it, everybody was just sick of it', she continued. 'Even though I had only done the cover of Time magazine, a primetime special with Diane Sawyer and Oprah - those were the only three places I talked - people were reporting on reports.'

Even gay celebrities were less than supportive, with Elton John lashing out at her at the time. 'Even Elton John said, 'Shut up already. We know you're gay. Be funny.' I had never met him and I thought, 'What kind of support is that from a gay person?'' She added. 'Everybody assumed I was non-stop talking about it.'

Not surprisingly, she ended up in a pit of depression, not helped with the notion that it was heartbreak that kickstarted her career as much as it was the result at the time.

'My girlfriend was killed in a car accident when I was like 20-years-old. I wasn't doing comedy, I think I was probably waitressing someplace at the time', she explained. 'I moved into this tiny little basement apartment, I was sleeping on a mattress on the floor and it was infested with fleas. I thought why is this beautiful 21-year-old girl just gone and fleas are here? And I thought it would just be amazing if we could pick up the phone and call up God.'

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Finding a joke in that situation, she ended up impressing with her stand-up routine on 'The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson' in 1986.