After 19 seasons and more than 3,000 episodes, The Ellen DeGeneres Show has come to an end.
The longtime daytime talk show host got emotional Thursday as she performed her final opening monologue. DeGeneres took viewers back to the start of the show, saying, "I walked out here 19 years ago and I said that this is the start of a relationship. And today is not the end of a relationship. It's more of a little break."
DeGeneres recalled that years before launching her talk show, her sitcom Ellen was canceled because "they didn't want a lesbian in primetime once a week." DeGeneres joked, "Okay, then I'll be on daytime every day. How about that?"
She went on to explain that during the show's early seasons, she was not allowed to say "gay" or reference her lesbian relationship. "And now I say wife all the time," DeGeneres said, looking to her wife of nearly 15 years, Portia De Rossi, who was in the audience for the final taping.
DeGeneres concluded by thanking her viewers for the "beautiful, beautiful journey" over the last 20 years. "If this show has made you smile, if it has lifted you up when you're in a period of some type of pain, some type of sadness, anything that you're going through, then I have done my job," she said, fighting back tears. "This show has forever changed my life. It is the greatest experience I have ever had. Beyond my wildest imagination."
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Kirstie Renae is a writer, blogger, and Austin-based actress with a penchant for binge-watching TV with her dogs. Follow her on Twitter @KirstieRenae.