Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres broke down in tears on her show this week as she spoke about NBA basketballer Kobe Bryant's tragic death. She said the tragedy had struck on the day of her birthday and with news of it, "everything changed in a second".
"Life is short. Life is fragile, and we don't know how many birthdays we have," she reminded her studio audience. She urged them to "celebrate life" and tell their loved ones that they loved them. She also told them how lucky she felt to have wife Portia de Rossi love her as much as she does.
Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday morning. The helicopter had crashed into a hillside under foggy conditions, with visibility so low the Los Angeles Police Department had grounded its helicopters that day. All nine bodies have now been recovered from the scene of the accident.
The NBA legend and other passengers had been on their way to a youth basketball tournament, where Gianna was expected to play and Bryant was expected to coach.
DeGeneres was incredibly sombre as she began her show by thanking her studio audience for coming:
"Thank you for being here today, I appreciate it more than ever, more than I did yesterday and tomorrow I will appreciate it more than today because life is short.
"I have mentioned before that we tape the show in advance, and we taped yesterday's show last week."
At this point, overcome with emotion, she paused to take a breath and steady herself.
"Today is Monday, and yesterday was Sunday," she continued. "It happened to be my birthday and the Grammy Awards. I was nominated, I didn't win. Not the point.
"Yesterday was supposed to be a celebratory day and then we got tragic news about Kobe Bryant, and everything changed in a second.
"And that's what I want to talk about.
"Life is short, and it's fragile, and we don't know how many birthdays we have. So just – you don't have to have a birthday to celebrate. Just celebrate life. And if you haven't told someone you love them, do it now.
"Tell people you love them. Call your friends. Text your friends. Hug them. Kiss them. Be nice to people at the DMV. They're people..."
Frequently wiping tears from her face as she spoke, DeGeneres then paid tribute to her wife, Portia de Rossi, saying, "I know that I am lucky to have a wife who loves me so much even though I don't have a Grammy."
She also paid tribute to her work colleagues, saying, "I get to come to work every single day with people who make me laugh. I love everybody I work with..."
As she introduced her show's DJ, tWitch, she acknowledged that they were both "sad today".
"I said we're gonna go out out there and we're gonna just fill the room with love because that's what everyone needs. And then I come out here and fall apart. I'm so sorry."
Ellen's show made headlines in 2019 for a particularly awkward interview with Dakota Johnson.
But this time the talk show host had only people's empathy, as she showed she was clearly cut up by the passing of a friend.
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