Carmichael, who recently came out and who last visited The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2016, told DeGeneres, according to The Hollywood Reporter: “You faced coming out at a time when, I mean, it just was impossible. There was no precedent. There was no Ellen DeGeneres to come out to show you what it’s like. I watched it with my mom. I watched all of it. I watched your sitcom. I watched you talk to Oprah. I watched the interpretive dance in the special. My mom watched you and she laughed at you and you were welcome in the home. It’s no small thing. I don’t want to discount that, because it’s really huge. Being Southern and Christian and these things — the idea of having a gay person welcome in my mother’s home — it seemed impossible. And you did it.” DeGeneres responded by calling Carmichael "my hero" and revealing she texted him soon after watching his recent Rothaniel special.