Much like the rest of us, celebrities needed to adapt during the coronavirus outbreak. So with lockdowns and social distancing in full effect, Jennifer Aniston told Ellen DeGeneres over the phone what she’s been doing with her free time. In addition to that, the popular actress posted an emotional message on Instagram too.
In an attempt to stop the coronavirus’ spread, many of our lives have essentially been put on pause. Given the current restrictions, much of us are in a similar position, with non-essential work taking a backseat for now. Aniston is no different in that respect, as the outbreak coincided with a busy period in her career.
Indeed, Aniston was shooting the second season of The Morning Show when the lockdown came into effect in March 2020. Alongside that, she was working on a movie titled The Fixer as well. And if that wasn’t enough, the actress had also been preparing for a Friends television special prior to the outbreak.
Aniston now finds herself at home, like millions of others around the world. With that in mind, she gave an update on what she’s been doing while speaking to DeGeneres over the phone. That conversation was then shared on Instagram, just a few days after the Hollywood star made a touching statement via social media.
Before we get into that, though, let’s take a look at how DeGeneres herself has been coping with the lockdown. Since 2003, her daily talk show has taken up much of her time. However, just as it’s done with everyone else, the coronavirus disrupted that routine in March 2020.
On that note, the first big news came on March 11. DeGeneres revealed that The Ellen Show would film without an audience from that point onwards, due to the threat of the virus. However, some two days after making that announcement, she then shared another update via her Twitter account.
As the outbreak continued to worsen, DeGeneres confirmed that she wouldn’t be filming any more episodes of her talk show for the time being. So with the program on hiatus, the TV star was now at home with her wife Portia de Rossi and their six pets. Yet it didn’t take long for her to get bored.
To help alleviate that boredom, DeGeneres has been active on her phone, sharing the results online. For instance, she started a conversation with an employee from a credit card company in her living room. During their chat, the TV host admitted that she didn’t know what to do with herself.
Following that talk, DeGeneres took a call from Tiffany Haddish. Together, they spoke about the latter’s hairdo and her upcoming plans at home. It turned out the actress intended to do some work on her garden while dressed up as a mermaid. Then, sometime later, she got in contact with Kevin Hart too.
Much like DeGeneres did with Haddish, she asked Hart what he’d been up to. The actor revealed that he’d tried out some stand-up material on his family, before noting that his appearance had changed during the lockdown. He told his celebrity pal that his hair was going gray, as he didn’t have access to his hairdresser.
Those conversations were subsequently compiled into a YouTube video, as de Rossi recorded them on her phone. The clip was posted on The Ellen Show’s official channel on March 25, drawing a big response online. Indeed, it’s since earned more than 1.2 million views and around 20,000 likes.
Meanwhile, DeGeneres contacted some other famous faces as well, posting the results on her Instagram page. From John Legend to Mario Lopez, the host looked to check in on her friends during this difficult time. She even called Michelle Obama, who shed some of light on her family’s activities at the moment.
Obama told DeGeneres, “We’re just trying to structure our days. I mean, everybody’s home. The girls are back because colleges are now online, so they’re off in their respective rooms doing their online classes. And I think Barack was on the phone, on a conference call. I just got finished with a conference call.”
“We’re just trying to keep a routine going,” Obama continued. “But we’ve also got a little Netflix and chilling happening!” Off the back of that exchange, the former First Lady then raised an important point regarding the current situation. She recognized that people need support once the lockdown gets lifted.
And Obama’s thoughts didn’t end there, as she went on to look at the positives of being home with her family. She informed DeGeneres, “I know for us, [the lockdown] has forced us to continue to sit down with each other, have real conversations and figure out how to keep ourselves occupied. Without just TV or computers.”
Once that conversation concluded, DeGeneres shared it on social media on March 23. Much like the YouTube video, it proved to be a big hit with her fans, earning in excess of 7.8 million views on Instagram. In addition to that, the clip also generated more than 16,000 comments.
But while DeGeneres continued to post similar videos on her Instagram page, one stood out from the rest. Prior to her conversation with Obama, she gave Jennifer Aniston a call. And over the course of their talk, the actress opened up about what she’d been doing at her house in Bel Air, California.
After DeGeneres asked Aniston what she was up to, the latter responded, “Well…not much different since the last time we spoke about 30 minutes ago. I’m actually still cleaning out my closet. That’s still happening.” The Friends star then offered up some ideas for people who might be getting restless at home.
“Well, I do suggest a good spring clean right now while we’re at it,” Aniston added. “That can’t hurt. [And] books are great, obviously.” At that point, the Hollywood superstar said her farewells to DeGeneres, who jokingly promised to call her back again in 30 minutes for another quick chat.
To give you an idea of the task that Aniston faced while cleaning out her closet, here’s something to consider. The actress resides in a house that measures around 8,500 square feet, so the wardrobe is quite sizable as well. Unsurprisingly, it’s jam-packed with a selection of outfits and other accessories.
Aniston’s closet is spread across an entire corridor, with each section housing a huge selection of jackets, skirts and designer dresses. Furthermore, she keeps all of her bags above the clothing racks. If that wasn’t enough, the Bel Air resident also has multiple shelves and cabinets in that room too.
On top of all that, the corridor also features a couple of different mirrors on the wall. The first is a full-length pane of glass with a cloudy shade to it, while the second is surrounded by flashbulb lights. Keeping that in mind, Aniston definitely had her work cut out for her when sorting through that closet.
As for the video that captured DeGeneres’ conversation with Aniston, it certainly attracted plenty of attention. Since posted on March 20, the clip has racked up over 10.6 million views on Instagram. Alongside that, it’s garnered in excess of 26,000 comments from social media users as well.
Given Aniston’s star power, she’s not been a stranger to that level of attention down the years. However, she received a real jolt when she first joined Instagram back in October 2019. Her first post, which included a photograph of the Friends cast, earned close to 16 million likes on the website.
Following that initial post, Aniston’s Instagram page has gone on to attract more than 31 million fans. They’ve been treated to a selection of snaps in that time, capturing the actress’ past as well as her life right now. Yet despite all that, though, she wanted to use the platform to spread an important message in March 2020.
While Aniston was busying herself during the coronavirus lockdown, she didn’t forget about those who were trying to fight against the disease. In fact, a few days before her conversation with DeGeneres, she appeared on Instagram Stories. At that stage, the actress then paid a poignant tribute to health workers everywhere.
The post included a number of different photographs, with each one showcasing exhausted medical workers at their respective hospitals. In the space above the images, Aniston wrote out a message that read, “Sending lots of love and gratitude to all of these amazing women working around the clock. You are our heroes.”
Meanwhile, Aniston made another post on Instagram Stories after that, focusing on the general public. Due to the dangers of the coronavirus, she wanted to share some advice with her followers to keep them safe. And the Golden Globe winner didn’t stop there either, as we’re about to find out.
Aniston’s post read, “This is a chaotic time. But remember the best thing we can do now is stay informed, stay calm, and stay inside or away from crowds to help slow the spread of the virus. It’s important we take it seriously, so that we can keep others healthy.”
“If you’re young and healthy, please remember social distancing is not just for you,” Aniston added. “It’s to help everyone who is at risk or vulnerable. We need to work together! Be safe and spread the word.” Her message quickly caught the attention of outlets like Hello! magazine, which shared her posts via its website.
Elsewhere, a fellow famous face shared a similar piece of advice from his home earlier in March 2020. We’re referring to Arnold Schwarzenegger, who posted a video on his Instagram page. Sitting alongside his miniature pony, Whiskey, and donkey, Lulu, the actor implored people to stay in their houses for the time being.
Schwarzenegger said, “See, the important thing is that you stay at home. Because there’s a curfew now, okay. No one is allowed out, especially someone who is like 72 years old! We don’t go out, we don’t go to restaurants, we don’t do anything like that anymore. Public gatherings, out the window. You stay home!”
Aside from the advice, a number of other celebrities have looked to pledge sizable donations to people in need during the pandemic. For instance, tennis superstar Roger Federer made an announcement on his Instagram page on March 25. He wrote, “These are challenging times for everyone and nobody should be left behind.”
Federer continued, “[My wife] and I have personally decided to donate one million Swiss Francs (over $1 million) for the most vulnerable families in Switzerland. Our contribution is just a start. We hope that others might join in supporting more families in need. Together we can overcome this crisis! Stay healthy!”
Hollywood star Ryan Reynolds and his wife Blake Lively followed suit, as they vowed to pledge a large sum to those in need too. Reynolds shared the news on his Instagram page, confirming the number on March 16. He also named the organizations that would be receiving the money during the lockdown.
Reynolds’ post read, “COVID-19 has brutally impacted older adults and low income families. Blake and I are donating $1 million to be split between Feeding America and Food Banks Canada. If you can give, these orgs need our help. Take care of your bodies and hearts. Leave room for joy. Call someone who’s isolated and might need connection.”
Going back to Aniston, she was enjoying a resurgence in her acting career prior to the coronavirus outbreak. Indeed, after appearing in three movies in 2016, she only made another three up until 2019. But that year, the actress played a prominent role on both the big and small screens.
Aniston starred alongside Adam Sandler in the 2019 comedy Murder Mystery, ahead of her first television role in seven years. The program in question was The Morning Show, which also featured stars like Steve Carell and Reese Witherspoon. Off the back of her performances there, the actress was recognized during the 2020 awards season.
Some five years after Aniston’s last nomination, she earned a Golden Globe nod for her part in The Morning Show. In addition to that, the Hollywood superstar picked up a gong at the Screen Actors Guild awards as well. However, as we mentioned earlier, the production on the latest season was suspended due to the pandemic.
While Aniston’s followers will have to wait a little bit longer for that, there’s another project on the horizon. Back in February 2020 she confirmed that a Friends reunion special was coming soon, with that Instagram post earning more than 10.4 million likes. Although there isn’t a set date for it, that’s something for fans to look forward to during these difficult times.
As for Ellen, though, it’s fair to say she’s probably itching to get back in the studio, surprising society’s do-gooders with lavish gifts and life-changing sums of cash. This may be particularly true given that earlier in the year, people tried to tarnish the star’s glittering reputation with some negative stories on Twitter. But does the queen of nice really have a dark side?
For the majority of her enduring career, Ellen DeGeneres has been regarded as one of the nicest women on TV. Her eponymous daytime show even thrives on feelgood celebrity chat, heartwarming true-life tales and charitable acts. But if one Twitter thread is to be believed, the comedienne is a very different person when the cameras are turned off. Yes, the stories people told could show Ellen in a whole new light.
Yet Ellen DeGeneres has built up her all-round good egg reputation largely thanks to her syndicated talk show. It’s here where the lives of many members of the public have been changed. For example, in 2017 The Ellen DeGeneres Show paid for 42 state school scholarships for students from a Brooklyn charter school. This totaled $1.6 million – making it the program’s biggest ever giveaway.
DeGeneres also warmed the nation’s hearts by dipping into her personal fortune on several occasions. She donated a whopping $1 million to footballer J.J. Watt’s relief fund for the devastating Hurricane Harvey, for instance. The star helped to raise that same amount of money for the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles as well.
As well as splashing the cash on great causes, DeGeneres has used her fame to highlight inequality and injustice. She’s been a vocal supporter of the #MeToo movement, for example, and the fight for same-sex marriage. DeGeneres also delivered an inspiring speech at the 2015 Teen Choice Awards. The star told youngsters, “Embrace who you are, because being unique is very, very important and fitting in is not really all that matters.”
The Ellen DeGeneres Show has become well-known for giving ordinary American citizens their chances to shine, too. Yes, with invitations to the set, the daytime hit affords untold numbers of local business owners, child prodigies and talented unknowns their 15 minutes of fame. And the comedienne fulfilled many members of the public’s dreams by arranging meetings with their favorite showbiz stars.
And DeGeneres has almost made fellow daytime talk show queen Oprah Winfrey look tightfisted when it comes to handing out prizes. Those audience members lucky enough to take part in the many on-stage competitions are often given more gifts than they can physically carry. The show even has a regular annual promotion named Twelve Days of Giveaways.
Plus, Barack Obama couldn’t stop gushing about DeGeneres’ inherent niceness when he presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016. He said, “Today, every day, in every way, [DeGeneres] counters what too often divides us with the countless things that bind us together, inspires us to be better. One joke, one dance at a time.”
Speaking to Parade magazine in 2011, DeGeneres explained why she chooses to embrace a positive spirit on her daytime talk show. She said, “The world is filled with negativity. I want people to watch me and think, ‘I feel good, and I’m going to make somebody else feel good today.’”
So it’s understandable that many of those whose lives DeGeneres enriches have spoken out in favor of the comedienne. On a personal blog named Shalavee, a fan recalled the moment she first met the star in the early 1990s. She wrote, “I remember how lovely and sweet and very talented I thought [DeGeneres] was. I certainly do hope that she is very happy in the life she’s living because I know she would wish me to be.”
However, even DeGeneres herself has admitted that the ever-smiling, ever-happy personality she presents on screen isn’t always her true self. In a 2018 interview with The New York Times, the comedienne explained, “The talk show is me, but I’m also playing a character of a talk-show host. There’s a tiny, tiny bit of difference.”
DeGeneres acknowledged that her public persona can sometimes leave her frustrated when she’s out and about minding her own business. She said, “There’s been times someone wants a picture, and while I’m doing a selfie, they’re like, ‘You’re not dancing!’ Of course I’m not dancing. I’m walking down the street.”
Yet DeGeneres slammed the rumors that the working environment of her daytime TV show isn’t a particularly happy one. She went on, “That bugs me if someone is saying that because it’s an outright lie. The first day I said, ‘The one thing I want is everyone here to be happy and proud of where they work, and if not, don’t work here.’ No one is going to raise their voice or not be grateful. That’s the rule to this day.”
Unfortunately for DeGeneres, though, negative gossip continues to circulate. And in 2019 she suffered a significant backlash thanks to her handling of two very different matters. First, the public chastised the star for how she supported Kevin Hart. Hart had just been dropped from his Oscars hosting gig after homophobic tweets from his past reemerged online.
DeGeneres initially criticized those who had called out Hart for his offensive comments when he appeared on her talk show. And then the star revealed that she’d personally attempted to get the funnyman reinstated as host in a call to the ceremony’s organizers. But the LGBTQ community didn’t appreciate how DeGeneres seemingly dismissed their concerns.
DeGeneres misjudged the mood of the nation when she responded to the furor over her friendship with George W. Bush as well. The 43rd POTUS had previously supported a constitutional amendment opposing marriage between couples of the same sex. And after DeGeneres appeared at an NFL game with Bush, many fans felt she’d once again betrayed the LGBTQ community.
Yet DeGeneres stoked the flames even more when she refused to apologize for her affiliation with Bush. She told viewers, “We’re all different, and I think that we’ve forgotten that [it’s] okay that we’re all different. Just because I don’t agree with someone on everything, doesn’t mean that [I won’t] be friends with them.”
The DeGeneres backlash continued in March 2020 in a Twitter thread started by Kevin T. Porter. The comedian and podcast host took to the social media platform to encourage those who had a horror story about DeGeneres to spill the beans.
Porter tweeted, “Right now we all need a little kindness. You know, like Ellen DeGeneres always talks about! She’s also notoriously one of the meanest people alive. Respond to this with the most insane stories you’ve heard about Ellen being mean & I’ll match every one with $2 to [the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank].”
But Porter, who co-hosts podcasts such as Gilmore Guys and Good Christian Fun, may have underestimated just how many nightmarish DeGeneres tales are out there. And his bank account was soon in danger of being wiped out – as a whole host of Twitter users contributed to the thread.
It appears as though DeGeneres has rubbed plenty of people up the wrong way throughout her glittering career. Benjamin Siemon, a TV writer, was one of the many individuals who claims to have had first-hand experience of the comedienne’s apparent unpleasant nature. He said, “Everyone must chew gum from a bowl outside her office before talking to her and if she thinks you smell that day you have to go home and shower.”
And Siemon didn’t finish there. He claimed, “A new staff member was told ‘every day she picks someone different to really hate. It’s not your fault, just suck it up for the day and she’ll be mean to someone else the next day.’ They didn’t believe it but it ended up being entirely true.”
Another TV writer claimed that DeGeneres can be super demanding. Alison Freer was once working on the set of another production filmed on the same Warner Bros. lot as The Ellen DeGeneres Show. She alleged, “[It] was our showrunner’s 50th birthday. Caterer grilling steaks outside for special fancy lunch. [DeGeneres] sent someone over to demand they stop as she doesn’t eat meat. She’s the worst.”
Other claims were based on hearsay and friend-of-a-friend accounts. But they still made for juicy reading. One Twitter user alleged that Karen Kilgariff had been sacked as The Ellen DeGeneres Show’s head writer for refusing to be a scab amid a writer’s strike. They claimed, “When [Kilgariff] wouldn’t cross the picket line she was fired and [Degeneres] never spoke to her again.”
Another individual claimed on Twitter that DeGeneres never even acknowledged a friend who had spent two years working as a writer on the daytime show. The user wrote, “[She] told me [that DeGeneres] didn’t greet her once. In fact, upon employment, staff were told they weren’t allowed to talk to her.”
According to another Twitter user, DeGeneres is too willing to get rid of her staff when they fail to meet her high demands. The star allegedly once told a new hire to take her fancy vehicle for a spin. And when the assistant, who apparently expressed her discomfort with the task, crashed the car into a pole, they immediately lost their job.
Josh Levesque, a comedian, contributed to the thread with a story that suggests DeGeneres isn’t a fan of mixing with her staff. Levesque recounted a story that had reportedly been told by a production assistant friend who had worked on the show when Russell Brand once guested. The wild-haired Brit had been chatting in the employee break room to various crew members when he was supposedly interrupted by a disgruntled DeGeneres.
According to Levesque’s friend, DeGeneres was unimpressed with the fact that one of her high-profile celebrity guests was hanging out with civilians. She allegedly told Brand that he “didn’t have to interact with these people,” before adding, “that’s why guests have their own area backstage.”
Detox, a contestant on Ru Paul’s Drag Race, waded in with a story about an old friend who worked on DeGeneres’ studio lot. She wrote, “[They] smiled and said ‘good afternoon’ to her one day, and she became unhinged. ‘Who do you think you are? You don’t look at me’ yada yada. She said [de Rossi] was with her and seemed embarrassed and tried to calm her down. [That] has forever changed my opinion of her.”
But DeGeneres’ alleged meanness isn’t just confined to the workplace. Many of the Twitter thread’s contributors claimed that she’s just as hostile when eating out at a restaurant. One user even alleged that a waiter friend had a plate of salmon thrown at them by the comedienne because it wasn’t what she’d ordered.
A waitress at the Los Angeles vegan restaurant Real Food Daily also alleged that DeGeneres is a woman to be feared. The Twitter user claimed that she nearly lost her job after the star wrote a letter of complaint to management. The problem? DeGeneres had reportedly taken umbrage with the fact that the waitress’ nail polish had been chipped.
However, among the dozens of negative stories, there were a few more positive ones. Jordan James Smith, an actor, spoke about the time that he rubbed shoulders with both DeGeneres and Beyoncé on a commercial for American Express. He tweeted, “We talked, and I made a joke that made them both laugh. She was actually really nice.”
And not everyone appreciated Porter’s unique way of raising money. One Twitter user described the DeGeneres-bashing thread – which featured a whole host of stories that couldn’t be proven – as mean-spirited. They added, “Why would you encourage negativity, especially at such a trying time?”
But it’s not just the general public who’s blasted DeGeneres for her conduct. Caitlyn Jenner once accused the star of ruining her reputation within the LGBTQ community – through the way The Ellen DeGeneres Show had edited comments she’d made about gay marriage. The reality star claimed in her memoir, The Secret of My Life, that the host was more interested in going viral than providing a true representation of their discussion.
Kathy Griffin has taken umbrage with DeGeneres several times in the past, too. In 2018 she told a Los Angeles comedy show crowd that she’d been upset by the star’s refusal to appear at a tribute to the late Joan Rivers. Griffin said, “I just called her, and I just said, ‘Look, woman to woman, comic to comic, I think you need to let go of your hatred for Joan Rivers. She’s passed away, just do a f***ing tribute, be cool.’”
But it was Kevin Porter’s Twitter thread that inspired everyone else to share their DeGeneres stories. In fact, nearly 2,000 people replied to the call put out by the comedian – a number which left him overwhelmed. He tweeted, “Well this got out of hand! It’s now hard to tell which stories are real or not, so I’ve rounded up to 300 and donated $600!”
Porter then encouraged even those without a DeGeneres horror story to be charitable. He wrote, “If you can, please give to your local food banks because they are slammed right now… honestly, be kind, especially to those in the most vulnerable positions right now. But be truly kind. Don’t settle for a cheap imitation.”
DeGeneres has yet to comment on all of the mean-girl rumors. But in early 2020 she did take to Twitter to confirm that production on her daytime TV show had been postponed. And the star made sure to let everyone know that her staff was at the forefront of her mind.
DeGeneres told her followers, “So, after some more thought, we have decided to suspend production completely until March 30. We just want to take every precaution to ensure that we do our part to keep everyone healthy. I love you guys, and can’t wait to come back. I’m already bored.”
DeGeneres later posted a video clip on the same social media platform reiterating the love she had for her behind-the-scenes team. She said, “This was my show staff’s planned spring break week. I’ve asked them all to continue to stay home and disconnect for a week.”
However, DeGeneres was soon back on Twitter with a big announcement. In a video uploaded to the social media platform, she explained that her eponymous program would be returning in April 2020. The presenter added, “Guess what? We figured out how to do the show from my house. So… we have a camera set up, and we are going to be doing interviews, and it’s going to be fun.”