When Ellen DeGeneres went on stage using crutches in October 2019, her fans might have wondered whether she had a serious injury. However, the star quickly abandoned the medical aids. It turned out that she did have a health issue to share, though it’s her neck that was the injured part of her body.
The chat show host was able to confirm to the audience of The Ellen DeGeneres Show “the good news” that she didn’t actually need the crutches. However, she did say to them, “The bad news [is] I hurt my neck.” And it seemed that how was a bit of a mystery, as she continued, “You want to know how I did it? So do I! I have no idea.”
DeGeneres had a few comic suggestions to offer to the audience. She claimed that she had “spent the morning watching tennis, and then in the afternoon some bird watching, and then at night we did the hula-hooping on our necks.” However, none of these were the real explanation for how her neck had become so sore.
DeGeneres told the audience that she had woken up feeling “as fit as a fiddle.” However, she explained to them, “I went to turn my head and then my neck disagreed with that situation. It just seized up and then I felt like there was a rod going down my back, and I thought, ‘Well, if I just ignore it, it would go away,’ like a toothache or global warming.”
But the neck pain persisted, so DeGeneres paid her chiropractor a visit. He had an answer, but it wasn’t necessarily very helpful. She explained that he had said, “[My chiropractor] said my feet don’t point in the right direction, one leg is longer than the other, my shoulders are humped, and my hips are uneven. Basically, he said nothing about me is straight.”
Needless to say, the chat show maven had something to say about that. She joked with the audience, “I don’t need to pay you $175 to hear that.” But she had a more serious point to share with viewers, adding, “We don’t realize, though, how fragile our bodies are.”
But DeGeneres didn’t stay on the serious note for too long. Next she joked, “Our body is like a string of Christmas lights, and one light goes out, the whole string goes out, and it gets into a tiny, crazy knot in the back of your head that you can’t untangle, and you’re in so much pain that you just want to get LIT.”
Luckily, it seemed that DeGeneres had been able to get some relief from the pain in the neck. She confirmed that when she said to the audience, “Actually, I feel better now. You should’ve seen me this morning. It’s loosening up as the day goes on. Kind of like The Today Show.”
The injury caught notice perhaps because of its rarity. DeGeneres is usually the picture of health; this may be partly due to her diet. The comic is a long-time vegan, which she is not shy of talking about. Indeed, she even has a section of her show devoted to the vegan lifestyle, including the promotion of “Meatless Mondays.”
DeGeneres gave up eating animal products in 2008, alongside her wife Portia de Rossi. She said back then that she had gone vegan as a matter of ethics; but the change in lifestyle has likely helped her health. DeGeneres also avoids sweet foods and edibles that have been highly processed.
Avoiding dairy doesn’t mean going without pizza, though, as the star has noted that vegan pizza is good to eat. Italian food clearly agrees with the comic, since one of her favorites is pasta arrabbiata – done vegan style. But when she tires of that, it’s no problem: she and de Rossi have their own chef standing by to whip up meat-free meals.
As well as good eating, DeGeneres takes care of herself by working out. Each morning she begins with crunches. Hilariously, she posted a video in August 2016 of her morning exercise with some uninvited “help.” Her puppies, Kid and Auggie, joined her, and although they didn’t look too much fitter for it, they did have fun.
Alongside working out, DeGenerous also loves yoga. She’s in particular a devotee of hatha yoga, which is a bit more relaxing than some types, as she pointed out to Shape magazine in 2018. She said, “I first started doing power yoga in L.A., which really makes no sense. Power yoga? It’s the opposite of what it should be. Yoga should calm you down!”
Above all, one big contribution to Degeneres’ good health is staying young at heart. As she told Good Housekeeping magazine that same year, “In some ways, that number doesn’t even compute. I can’t even believe I’m going to be 60 – I’m so immature; I’m like a child.” And studies have shown that almost nothing is better for your health than laughing, something DeGeneres is an expert in.
The queen of daytime talk has had her health issues, however. Back in 2007 she had been forced to present her show laid out in a hospital bed. And unlike the crutches that she would pose with to get a few laughs in October 2019, the bed hadn’t simply been a prop.
It turned out that when DeGeneres went to lift up her pet dog of the time, something had felt very wrong. The agony left her paralyzed, and she could not move from the floor. The star comic had needed to summon medical help, and it seemed that she might have done something really serious to her back.
When help did arrive, DeGeneres had to be taken away in an ambulance. There she received the news that she had torn a back ligament. This is an injury that’s not just the cause of a great deal of pain, but also can leave a sufferer unable to get to their feet, move around or even sit up.
This seemed like it would make presenting her smash hit chat program impossible for DeGeneres. However, she’s a true Hollywood trouper, and she wasn’t about to let the back injury stop her from working. So, she needed a good solution to allow the show to go on as normal.
And when it came time for DeGeneres to appear, she did so with helpers wheeling her hospital bed into view. The comic interviewed her guests from the prone position; and, as you might expect, she was able to find a laugh in the affair. She said, “I’m not being lazy. I’m forced to bed rest right now… And let me just start by saying I’m on pills.”
The chat show host continued, “This is not a sweeps stunt. This is not like what Regis [Philbin] did – that whole bypass surgery.” Furthermore, she wasn’t alone as invitees to the show joined in the fun too. They sat in hospital beds for their visit, which prompted American Idol’s Ryan Seacrest to crack his own joke. He quipped, “This is a first for me to be in bed with you.”
Some years after that, DeGeneres had a serious health scare when paramedics came to her set in 2011. She had been suffering some chest discomfort on a Sunday, which hadn’t bothered her too much. However, when the pain carried on into Monday, she needed the medics to attend, so they came alongside local firefighters.
The comic star explained what had happened on her show. She said, “What happened was last night I was having chest pains. So, this morning the paramedics came to look at me. First of all, I’m fine… I woke up in the middle of the night. I was feeling like a tightness of my chest and all the scary things… like something was heavy on my chest, and it was a cat, so I moved it.”
DeGeneres then told the audience what had happened next. She said, “I still felt the tightness and heaviness so there was another cat under that cat. There were two cats on my chest. Then I got to work and it was still happening. I was still feeling the pains. So, I was like, ‘You know, I should check this out. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Who doesn’t want to see a fireman occasionally?’”
Still seeing the funny side, DeGeneres cracked a joke about the arrival of the ambulance. The presenter explained, “We called the paramedics here on the Warner Bros. lot and about 50 trucks and ambulances, like one marching band short of a parade showed up outside of my office. Then they come in with an axe. Break the door down. It was open. I don’t know why they did that.”
And the funny woman had an explanation for why this particular false alarm had amounted to nothing. She said, “I have a baboon heart that I had put in earlier… It’s not true. But I want to say thank you to all the paramedics and the nurses who showed up and everybody for caring so much… I appreciate it.”
More recently still, 2016 saw whispers of something much more serious. Star magazine told the world that the star couldn’t “even walk on her own.” The magazine quoted a source who claimed that DeGeneres had dropped down to 98 pounds and wasn’t looking at all well as she battled cancer.
DeGeneres does have breast cancer in the family, as her mom has had it too. However, nothing came of these rumors; though that didn’t stop suggestions that her illness was the only reason that she and her wife were staying together. Nevertheless, the pair are still going strong at the time of writing; and DeGeneres appears to be resolutely cancer free.
Sadly, DeGeneres had another scare in 2014, when she discovered a lump in one of her breasts. A source told the National Enquirer, “Ellen lives in fear of being hit with a breast cancer diagnosis. With her family history, her age and stress level, she thinks the cards are stacked against her.” However, the lump was not cancerous.
Nevertheless, despite her bodily health, DeGeneres has faced some struggles with mental illness. Rumors called her marriage in question again in 2017; this time suggesting that problems with her emotional wellbeing were the issue. Globe magazine printed talk that she’d had some “mood swings,” which seemed to be borne out by some whispers about bad treatment of staff and some off-color segments on her show.
The superstar had previously confessed to having mental health issues when her sitcom, Ellen, had been canned, and she’d faced anger when she came out as a lesbian. According to New Idea magazine, she said, “I moved out of L.A., went into a severe depression, started seeing a therapist and had to go on antidepressants for the first time in my life.”
In 2017 a source told Globe, “Portia is beside herself. She’s tried to hold on for so long, but Ellen’s driving her crazy now – she feels she’s walking on eggshells.” The magazine suggested that DeGeneres was suffering from a drinking problem, and New Idea, reporting on Globe’s claim, pointed to a tale that she’d told on her show.
DeGeneres had told her viewers, “Well, I had two glasses of wine and fell into a door. The dogs were so excited to see us… I fell into the door and… I dislocated my finger.” New Idea went on to suggest that friends had said that de Rossi had not seen the funny side of the incident, though.
Back in 2019 DeGeneres’ belief that her pain was easing was quickly proved wrong – or so it seemed. The next day, she turned up on set with an arm in a cast. However, the host said, “I have good news and I have bad news.” It turned out that the “good news” was that the cast wasn’t needed, and she jettisoned it quickly.
However, DeGeneres would add, “But the bad news is I sprained my neck.” She explained that the injury had turned out to be a little more serious than she had first thought. She said, “I thought I strained it, but it turns out I sprained it. That’s how the chiropractor [explained] it.”
DeGeneres added that she didn’t just feel the pain in her neck, but also in her wallet. She said, “The difference between a strain and a sprain is there’s a ‘P’ instead of a ‘T,’ and the ‘P’ stands for pain. And the other difference is about $5,000.” But that wasn’t all.
Apparently, part of the treatment for a sprained neck was an injection in her behind, as DeGeneres shared with the audience. Later, she’d trade jests about the treatment with The Hangover’s Ken Jeong. And he was just the right guest, given that he’d been a physician before breaking out as an actor.
Jeong quizzed the chat show host before presenting his diagnosis, which was surprisingly to the point. He suggested that she use some anti-inflammatory drugs and “some extra Tylenol.” As if to prove that he doesn’t work for free, he then noted to the floor team that he’d send his bill later.
But Jeong wasn’t the only medic to give his professional opinion after the neck injury. Dr. Mehmet Oz also shared his views on what to do about neck pain. However, DeGeneres was a little taken aback when he asked to examine her. And perhaps this had something to do with his recent shenanigans pulling teeth for Alec Baldwin’s baby daughter.
However, Oz did hand out some useful tips to the audience on a healthy life. His position on what was of paramount importance was to emphasize a good night’s sleep. When awake, though, people should be active, if possible lathering up in a good sweat daily. But on a more serious note, Oz pointed out that loneliness is a big issue for health.
And what was the outcome of the neck injury? Well, a full recovery; Website Latin Times cited a source who confirmed that all is well with DeGeneres’ health. It also had some choice words for gossipmongers who claimed problems in the star’s marriage. Apparently, there’s no truth in the rumors, and DeGeneres’ marriage is perfectly healthy too.