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Ellen DeGeneres comes out as a lesbian (1997)
When Ellen DeGeneres came out of the closet in 1997, she turned to Oprah -- in real life and on her own hit sitcom. After telling the world "Yep, I'm gay" in a Time magazine interview, she followed up with a trip to "The Oprah Winfrey Show" to discuss her personal life for the first time. Shortly after, DeGeneres' character on "Ellen" (pictured) became the first gay lead character on prime time when she came out to a therapist on the show -- played by none other than Winfrey.