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Ellen DeGeneres shared a brilliant update on her iconic 1997 Time Magazine cover

It’s exactly 20 years since she came out on her sitcom.

IT’S EXACTLY 20 years since Ellen DeGeneres made history by becoming the first major sitcom character to come out - and the historic episode is being celebrated across the internet all weekend:

If you can’t see the video, click here

Back when “The Puppy Episode” aired in 1997, the concept of a main character on a network sitcom being gay was alien to the executives that Ellen dealt with at the time - so much so that some major sponsors pulled their ads from the show once they were informed about the direction of the plot.

At the time, Ellen posed for a now iconic front cover for Time Magazine – and the message was simple: “Yep, I’m gay”

elleniconic Source: Time

Time, following up on the anniversary in their last issue, note how Ellen’s own journey has followed that of America as a whole:

The episode insists that Ellen, star and character, remain normal after coming out. And in the intervening years, as a comic and talk-show host, she’s become perhaps the single most potent stand-in for the concept of American normalcy.

That she has.

The episode linked in perfectly with the Time cover:

It’s a striking result, and not the one that might have been expected from one of the biggest media moments of the late 20th century. DeGeneres’s high-profile real-life declaration was featured on the cover of TIME, as the culmination of months of speculation the show itself lampoons. To wit: The episode begins with Ellen spending too much time getting ready for a dinner date, as her friends urge her to “come out already.” When she finally does, they all settle up, having placed bets on her sexuality.

And on Friday evening, Ellen shared an updated version of the iconic cover

Breaking news.

To mark the anniversary, her show on Friday was dedicated to the coming out episode.

And the producers had this lovely surprise video for Ellen

Source: TheEllenShow/YouTube

Her intro spoke about the episode and how Ellen used it to both have the character come out and also for herself

Source: TheEllenShow/YouTube

“It was the hardest thing that I ever had to do in my life, but I wouldn’t change one moment of it because it led me to be exactly where I am today”

tiemcover2 Source: The Ellen Show

Oprah had a cameo in the episode, and she joined Ellen on the couch to reminisce about how it all came about

Source: TheEllenShow/YouTube

Michelle Obama popped up at the end to add her sincere congratulations

tiemcover3 Source: The Ellen Show

And, to add the icing on the cake, the whole cast of the sitcom joined her to share their memories

Source: TheEllenShow/YouTube

A genuinely lovely episode of Ellen.

And an even greater front cover in 2017.

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About the author:

David Elkin

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