The talk show host says she and wife Portia de Rossi constantly tell each other how lucky they are

Ellen DeGeneres opens up about her journey to happiness with wife Portia de Rossi. Subscribe now for an exclusive interview with Ellen about what matters to her most, only in PEOPLE!

She might be an Emmy Award-winning talk show host and the voice of the beloved forgetful fish in Disney’s blockbuster animated film Finding Dory, but Ellen DeGeneres has another true passion.

“I’m always thinking about design,” she tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “It was what I wanted to do from a young age. I was obsessed with decorating my bedroom, specifically a Pier One wicker headboard and the Indian print bedspread and a plexiglass cube table.”

From ED By Ellen, her line of clothing, accessories and home goods, to her interior design book, Home, the star insists she is constantly envisioning “what’s going to be next in the line or what I’m doing with a house or fabrics or furniture.

DeGeneres, 58, who married actress Portia de Rossi in 2008, has renovated more than a dozen homes over the last 25 years, including their estate north of L.A. “That’s our sanctuary,” she says. “When we’re there, we hike a lot and she has horses that she rides.”

Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Despite their busy schedules, the couple make each other a priority on a daily basis. “Portia and I usually wake up around 6:30 or 7 a.m., drink coffee in bed and watch one of the morning shows,” DeGeneres says of their daily routine. “Then just reading, or she likes to do jigsaw puzzles. And we like walking about our property and hanging out with our dogs and just looking at the ocean. You know, relaxing.”

  • For more from Ellen DeGeneres, including her take on success and her love story with wife Portia de Rossi, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
Credit: Nino Muñoz

Yet two thoughts never stray far from their minds. “Portia and I have this joke that if we’re lying in bed and quiet for a little while, I’ll say, ‘What are you thinking about?’ ” And she says, ‘Horses,’ ” DeGeneres says. “And she says, ‘What are you thinking about?’ And I go, ‘Houses.’ Literally, any time of day, horses and houses.”

DeGeneres says she and de Rossi also “constantly say to each other, ‘We are so lucky.’ Sometimes it’s lying in bed at night before I go to sleep, and I just say thank you to whatever, whoever is out there,” she adds. “I’ve gotten to a place where I really am just settled. Really. I know that I’m not going anywhere. She’s not going anywhere. I’m not saying the relationship took a while; I’m saying in my life, it took a while to find this.”

Finding Dory comes out digitally on Oct. 25 and on Blu-ray/DVD Nov. 15.