“There were tears. It was really hard because I do love everyone here. We do have a relationship,” she said. “You know, it’s every single day for me. I come in every day and this is my life and theirs too. But I wanted to give them a year. I wanted to give them enough time to know. I didn’t want to do it the last year I was here. I wanted to give them a year to celebrate with me and stay with me.”
She also spoke about getting emotional in her opening monologue.
“I didn’t rehearse the monologue. I knew what I was going to say, but the words hadn’t come out of my mouth. So I was okay until I started talking and it became real,” she described. “Obviously, I got emotional because it’s real now. But I’m feeling good.”
Winfrey said she could relate as she ended her top-rated daytime show, “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” in May 2011 after 25 seasons.
“I know what those feelings are. I also know the feelings leading up to it,” Winfrey said. “So hearing you say and announcing to the world that it was your instinct and that you thought long and hard about it because anybody would know that for something that is as powerful as this show is in other people’s lives, that you would not take that lightly and that the coming to the realization that now it is time is a process.”
DeGeneres added that she knew she wanted to end the show with 19 seasons three years ago when she renewed her contract.
“There’s just different things as a creative person that I feel like I need to do,” DeGeneres said. “We still have the digital Ellen Tube, Ellen Tube is huge. We have original shows, that’s going to continue. Our social media’s going to continue. I still am going to be very much involved with digital.”
She hopes by next year a full live audience can be back in the studio to celebrate the final episodes with her.