Ellen DeGeneres reveals the tragic loss that led to her big break

Reflecting on her past Ellen De Generes discussed her life before she became famous during an interview with actor Dax Shepard for his Armchair Expert podcast

A dead ex-girlfriend inspired the comedy routine that gave Ellen DeGeneres her big break.

"I just thought it would be awesome if we could just pick up the phone and call up God and ask questions and get an answer", DeGeneres recalled about her "Phone Call to God" joke. I was living with her when she was killed, ' DeGeneres said on Shepard's Armchair Expert podcast.

The TV host explained that at the time she wasn't doing comedy.

During an interview on Dax Shepard's Armchair Expert podcast on Tuesday (March 13), the 60-year-old TV host opened up about her time before making it big in TV, when she used to struggle to make ends meet in New Orleans and shared that her then-girlfriend was tragically killed in a auto accident.

"Why is this lovely, 21-year-old girl gone?"

Ellen went on to explain that after her girlfriend was killed, she could no longer afford to live in the apartment they shared together.

'I was sleeping on a mattress on a floor and it was infested with fleas.

She came up with the sketch which eventually landed her an invite on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show.

The pair traveled home separately, with DeGeneres passing a vehicle wreck on the way home, and it wasn't until the next morning that DeGeneres learned her girlfriend had been killed in the accident she saw.

"And I just thought it would be wonderful if we could pick up the phone and call up God and ask questions and actually get an answer", the host added.

Inspired, she began writing the idea down, coming up with other amusing tidbits until the whole routine "just unfolded", the comedian said.

In 2015, she spoke about her "guilt" on an episode of Oprah Winfrey's OWN series Oprah's Master Class. The couple was out at a music show and her girlfriend tried to reconcile, but DeGeneres was "dismissive".

The ex was killed later that night as she drove home alone.

In 1997, DeGeneres publicly came out as gay and in 2008, she married actress Portia de Rossi. It shifted my entire focus'.

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