Ellen DeGeneres Breaks Down Upon Receiving Presidential Medal of Freedom

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Ready for some political news that will make you feel good about the world for a change?

Good. So are we.

On Tuesday afternoon at the White House, Ellen DeGeneres was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is considered to be America’s highest civilian honor.

This incredible distinction was placed around the comedian's neck by President Barack Obama, who also recognized 20 other artists, athletes, scientists and philanthropists at the event.

Ellen DeGeneres and Obama

Obama actually had stop part way through his address because he was “getting kind of choked up," prior to telling Ellen how she is deserving of this medal due to her ability to "laugh about something, rather than at someone.”

He went on to praise DeGeneres’ courage for publicly coming out of the closet nearly two decades ago, placing her career in jeopardy at the time.

Said POTUS upon bestowing the honor:

It’s easy to forget now, when we’ve come so far, where now marriage is equal under the law, just how much courage was required for Ellen to come out on the most public of stages almost 20 years ago.

Just how important it was not just for the LGBT community, but for all us to see somebody so full of kindness and light. Somebody we liked so much, somebody who could be our neighbor or our colleague or our sister challenge our own assumptions.

Remind us that we have more in common than we realize, push our country in the direction of justice. What an incredible burden it was to bear, to risk your career like that.

People don’t do that very often.


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Ellen DeGeneres Biography

Jason and Molly on Ellen
Ellen DeGeneres was a great host of the Oscars and an often funny woman. She entertains us. She was one of the very first stars to come... More »
Full Name
Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen DeGeneres Quotes

I’m thrilled that the California supreme court overturned the ban on gay marriage. I can’t wait to get married. We all deserve the same rights, and I believe that someday we’ll look back on this and not allowing gays to marry will seem as absurd as not allowing women to vote.

Ellen DeGeneres

You showed us something in that film that I have not seen for a very, very long time.

Ellen DeGeneres [to Jonah Hill, regarding his penis in The Wolf of Wall Street]