In Quotes

About that really awkward time Heather Matarazzo tried coming out to Ellen…

Heather Matarazo, Ellen DeGeneres. Via Shutterstock

“I was also on set with Ellen DeGeneres who had just come out. She was one of, if not the first person that I came out to. I think I was like 13 or 14. And looking back, I’m like, Oh my god, I must have put her in the most awful fucking position. Where it’s like, why is this 14-year-old child talking to me about her fucking budding lesbianism?

It was on that set in between setups because I had tried to come out to my adopted mother when I was around 12 or 13. Right before running away from home and like down the street to a friend’s house for the first time. Because the first girl that I had ever fallen in love with it was like, I forbid you to see her! And I remember saying to [my adoptive mother], why do you think I like watching Xena: Warrior Princess and Ellen?

You have to remember that time was very different. You know, and I was being raised by two people that were old enough to be my grandparents that were strict Catholics, like Roman Catholic Italian on Long Island. I mean it doesn’t get any better than that, in terms of emotional crisis. And when you’re dealing with your sexuality. I look back at that time when I said that to Ellen, and I’m like, oh, man, like, I hope I didn’t make her feel like—the response was almost like tight-lipped. Because especially back then I mean, even now but more so. You know, pedophilia and homosexuality go hand in hand.

And I can understand that now. I completely understand where she potentially was coming from in that space. But I was also at that time so desperate to be embraced by those that had gone before me and getting to have my own kind of “me too” experience, though in a completely different context. But I think about that sometimes, how strange that must have been for her.”–Actress Heather Matarazzo of The Princess Diaries and Welcome to the Dollhouse, recalling how she very awkwardly tried coming out to Ellen DeGeneres on the set of the Sheryl Crow video “A Change Would Do You Good.” At the time, DeGeneres was one of the few openly-LGBTQ performers on television, and suffered massive career setbacks as a result. Matarazzo detailed the experience, and many others in her career, in the podcast You Might Know Her From.