In early December of 2020, Ellen DeGeneres tested positive for COVID-19.
Production on her show, which had already been embattled for months over a toxic workplace culture, was shut down.
Now, Ellen is back, and she is sharing her experience with this deadly virus with her audience.
Ellen was one of the lucky ones, and she knows it — and she had a symptom that most people don’t realize COVID can cause.
As you can see in this clip, Ellen marked her return to television — in front of a virtual audience — with a dose of sobering reality laced with humor.
“There’s a lot of negative things going on,” she joked, “so I want to talk about something positive: my Covid test.”
“I test positive before the holidays, I’m fine now, everything’s good, all clear,” Ellen assured.
“I want to thank everyone who reached out with kind words with support,” Ellen expressed.
“I wish I could hug every single one of you,” she joked.
Continuing the joke, Ellen then acknowledged: “but that would have been dangerous and illegal, probably.”
Ellen recalled how she had been in hair and makeup when she was informed of her positive COVID-19 test.
“Then everyone around me ran away,” the comedian and talk show host exaggerated.
“They told [producer] Andy Lassner and when he heard he literally ran full speed off the lot. I didn’t realize you could run,” Ellen teased. “Just the slow walking. You left so fast you forgot your phone!”
On a more serious note, Ellen stated that she left the studio immediately. The COVID response team then contacted everyone with whom she had been in contact.
“I went home, I had to quarantine and Portia made me sleep in a different room, on a different bed,” Ellen shared.
She then joked that Portia only made this demand “because she wanted the race car bed all to herself.”
“This is my experience with COVID,” Ellen revealed.
“The first three days I slept for 16 hours a day,” she shared, “and then on the fourth day I woke up with back spasms.”
“And I thought I had pulled a muscle or slept weird because I was in a different bed,” Ellen explained, “but it just persisted.”
“The doctor put me on pain pills and muscle relaxers,” Ellen revealed, before joking: “Jackpot, this thing is finally paying off.”
“The painkillers did not help, my back got worse,” she described. “It felt like I cracked a rib.”
“You know how I make you laugh so hard that your ribs hurt? That’s how it was like for me,” Ellen joked. “Now I know how you feel when I make you laugh.”
Ellen shared that, like many COVID patients, she was put on steroids to combat the symptoms.
“But here’s the thing about steroids, they make you very speedy and really edgy,” she acknowledged.
“So the best thing to do was to stay on the muscle relaxers and pain kills with the steroid pills to balance it out,” Ellen half-joked.
Over time, speaking to others who had experienced the virus, Ellen learned that she was not the only one who had suffered back pain.
“It’s the only symptom I had,” Ellen acknowledged. “I didn’t have a headache, I didn’t have a fever,”
“I didn’t lose my sense of taste,” she quipped, “although I did wear socks with Crocs for a day, so you be the judge.”