For 17 years now, she’s been the queen of daytime TV, winning legions of fans with her eponymous chat show and celebrity BFFs. But last week, it looked like Ellen DeGeneres’ career was in freefall after WarnerMedia launched an internal investigation into claims of bullying, racism and intimidation on her set.
The inquiry was launched when a number of current and former employees made complaints against executive producers and managerial staff. And while all accusations were levied against the show rather than Ellen herself, rumours that the actress is “mean” and “cold” behind the scenes have simultaneously gathered momentum. According to insiders, whispers about a hostile environment became too loud for WarnerMedia – which distributes The Ellen Show – to ignore.
The uproar surrounding the programme first started earlier this year, when comedian Kevin T Porter tweeted a call to arms, asking people to recount “insane stories you’ve heard about Ellen”, who he dubbed “notoriously one of the meanest people alive”. The thread went viral, with former staff members coming forward with alleged incidents of her being “demanding” and “distant”, such as the time she apparently screamed at someone for looking her in the eye, or sent another employee home to shower after they had eaten fish.
CHECK OUT celebrity splits that shocked the world
RADIO Celebrity splits that shocked the world - slider with cover pic
Swipe through to see which celebrity splits shocked the world of showbiz
Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth
Singer Miley Cyrus split from actor Liam Hemsworth in August 2019, despite only getting married in December 2018. Liam released a statement on Instagram, reading, ''Hi all. Just a quick note to say that Miley and I have recently separated and I wish her nothing but health and happiness going forward.'This is a private matter and I have not made, nor will I be making, any comments to any journalists or media outlets. Any reported quotes attributed to me are false. Peace and Love.'
Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan
After meeting on the set of Step Up in 2006, Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan announced their marriage was over in April 2018. Revealing they are still great friends, the couple decided it was time to go their separate ways after almost nine years of marriage.
Gabby Allen and Marcel Somerville
After meeting on Love Island 2017, things seemed to be going very well for Gabby Allen and former Blazin' Squad member Marcel Somerville. But in May 2018 allegations that Marcel had cheated on Gabby whilst they were on holiday together surfaced, leading Gabby to reportedly "dump" Marcel.
Jake Quickenden and Danielle Fogarty
Dancing On Ice winner Jake Quickenden and Danielle Fogarty split in April 2018, despite being engaged. Speaking in early May, Jake appeared on Lorraine and said the couple are having time apart to focus on their busy work schedules. However, Jake did add, "There's not a bad word. I was with her on Monday, we still talk and I still love her to bits, but sometimes you've got to go away to come back."
Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux
After two years of marriage, Friends actress Jennifer Aniston and her husband Justin Theroux announced their split in February 2018. Jen said, "We are two best friends who have decided to part ways as a couple but look forward to continuing our cherished friendship."
Anna Faris and Chris Pratt
Hollywood actors Anna Faris and Chris Pratt announced their split in August 2017. The pair shocked the world as they always seemed so loved up at events since marrying in 2004.
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt
When Brangelina announced they were getting a divorce in 2016, fans were left in shock. The pair had been dating since 2004 and married in 2014. They have six children together.
Fergie and Josh Duhamel
Fergie and Josh Duhamel's split rocked fans in September 2017. The couple said, "With absolute love and respect we decided to separate." The pair were married for eight years.
Perrie Edwards and Zayn Malik
Former One Direction star Zayn Malik popped the question to Little Mix singer Perrie Edwards, but just a few months later Zayn dumped his fiancé by text.
Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris
Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris seemed very loved up with each other, until they split in 2016 and ended things on very bad terms. Calvin even ended up having a Twitter rant about his ex.
Dougie Poynter and Ellie Goulding
Hearts broke all over the world when Ellie Goulding and Dougie Poynter announced their split. After rekindling their romance for a few months, they finally called it quits in 2016. Ellie is now engaged to Caspar Jopling.
Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes
Another massive shock in the world of celeb relationships! Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes split in 2012 after six years of marriage. The pair share their daughter Suri together.
Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow
After 10 years of marriage, actress Gwyneth Paltrow announced her split from Coldplay frontman Chris Martin. The split became famous because the former couple bizarrely entitled it "conscious uncoupling."
Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner
Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner split in 2010 but have since remained great friends and co-parent their children.
Jake Roche and Jesy Nelson
Despite popping the question to Little Mix singer Jesy Nelson, Rixton frontman Jake Roche couldn't make his relationship work with Jesy, causing the pair to split in 2016.
Lady Gaga and Taylor Kinney
Pop superstar Lady Gaga shocked her fans in 2016 when she revealed herself and her partner Taylor Kinney were 'taking a break' after a five-year relationship.
Miranda Kerr and Orlando Bloom
They were one of Hollywood's hottest couples, so it was a major shock to fans when Miranda Kerr and Orlando Bloom announced their split in 2013. The pair had been married for just three years.
Millie Mackintosh and Professor Green
Professor Green split with former Made In Chelsea star Millie Mackintosh in 2016, just three years after they married. Millie is now dating her ex-boyfriend Hugo Taylor.
Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale
Singers Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale ended their marriage in 2016. The couple have three children together, Zuma, Apollo and Kingston.
Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom
They went through a number of ups and downs but Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom's relationship ended after four years of marriage, with Khloe filling for divorce from the basketball player.
Will Arnett and Amy Poehler
Will Arnett and Amy Poehler separated back in 2012 after nine years of marriage, but it took until 2016 for the couple's divorce to be finalised.
Ariana Grande and Mac Miller
Ariana Grande and Mac Miller announced they had split up in May 2018. The couple had been together for two year and even recorded some duets together. They reportedly chose to end their relationship due to their busy work schedules.
Cheryl Tweedy and Liam Payne
After a two year romance and a baby boy, Cheryl Tweedy and Liam Payne announced they'd decided to go their separate ways on Sunday 1st July 2018. Releasing a joint tweet, the statement read, "We are sad to announce that we are going our separate ways. It's been a tough decision for us to make. We still have so much love for each other as a family. Bear is our world and we ask that you respect his privacy as we navigate our way through this together."
Alexandra 'Binky' Felstead and Josh 'JP' Patterson
Despite welcoming their daughter India into the world in 2017, Made In Chelsea stars Binky and JP announced their shock split in September 2018. The couple, who vowed to remain friends with their daughter being their number one priority, released a statement on Instagram.
Adele and Simon Konecki
Singer Adele confirmed she'd split from her husband Simon Konecki after three years of marriage. The couple share a son together.
Maya Jama and Stormzy
After four years of dating, rapper Stormzy and TV presenter Maya Jama split up to focus on their careers.
But while anecdotes such as these have surrounded Ellen for years, it was only after a number of current and former employees filed official complaints against the show that WarnerMedia really took notice. Last month, ten anonymous staff members spoke out about the “toxic work environment” behind the scenes at The Ellen DeGeneres Show, alleging that executive producers and senior managers had bullied workers.
All complaints were made against senior staff, but insiders said that Ellen has been criticised for not acknowledging – or maybe not even being aware of – the “racism, fear and intimidation” that was happening behind the scenes.
According to reports, some aggrieved staff said they had been fired for taking medical leave or personal days to attend family funerals, while others said they were told not to speak to Ellen if they saw her. Among the many “racist microaggressions” that were reported, one former employee, who is black, said that a senior producer had told her and another black employee, “Oh, wow, you both have box braids. I hope we don’t get you confused.”
Following news of the inquiry, Ellen sent an emotional apology to staff, telling them, “On day one of our show, I told everyone that The Ellen DeGeneres Show would be a place of happiness [where] everyone would be treated with respect. Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed. For that, I’m sorry.” She added, “I’m committed to ensuring this does not happen again.” Whether the programme will survive the backlash remains to be seen.