The mother of comedian Ellen DeGeneres broke her silence Friday after her daughter revealed that she’d been sexually abused by her stepfather as a teen. In an interview with David Letterman on his Netflix series, DeGeneres said her mom didn’t believe her when she told her about the abuse. “I know now that one of the hardest things to do is speak up after being sexually abused,” Betty DeGeneres, 89, said in a statement to NBC News. “I love my daughter, and I wish I had the capacity to listen to her when she told me what happened.” “I live with that regret, and I wouldn’t want that for any other parent,” she added. “If someone in your life has the courage to speak out, please believe them.” In the Letterman interview, DeGeneres said the abuse started when her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. “He told me when she was out of town that he’d felt a lump in her breast and needed to feel my breasts,” she said. Her mom didn’t believe her when she revealed the incident a few years later, and stayed with her husband for 18 more years, finally leaving him “because he’d changed the story so many times,” the comedian said.
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