Ellen DeGeneres' wife Portia de Rossi shows up to surprise her with an incredibly thoughtful gift that brings the host to tears

By Aurelie Corinthios
February 01, 2018 11:45 AM

Ellen DeGeneres is feeling the love.

The talk show host, who turned 60 on Friday, has been celebrating the milestone ever since — and Thursday’s special two-hour episode is a big one. In addition to former First Lady Michelle Obama‘s first TV interview since leaving the White House, the entire show is filled with surprise celebrity guests showing their love for DeGeneres.

First up, Modern Family star Sofia Vergara stops by to wish the host a happy birthday — and give gives her an electric scooter to help ease the transition into her golden years. Jimmy Kimmel then figure-skates his way onto the stage, followed by Jamie Foxx, who shows up with a bottle of champagne for a special toast. The first hour wraps up with Chance the Rapper, who surprises DeGeneres — “a truly special person” — with flowers.

Sofia Vergara and Ellen DeGeneres
| Credit: Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.
Jimmy Kimmel
| Credit: Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.
Jamie Foxx and Ellen DeGeneres
| Credit: Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.
Chance the Rapper and Ellen DeGeneres
| Credit: Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

But the best surprise comes at the end of the show, when DeGeneres’ wife Portia de Rossi presents an incredibly thoughtful gift that brings the host to tears: de Rossi is building the Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund next to Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda — a center for education, tourism, and further scientific research. (DeGeneres has been a longtime admirer of Fossey, a late scientist who studied the rare mountain gorilla in Rwanda.)

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And it doesn’t end there: The campus is only the first initiative of the newly launched foundation Ellen DeGeneres Wildlife Fund, which aims to protect and advocate for the world’s most vulnerable animals and wildlife.

“It’s your 60th birthday, and this gift had to be really special and represent who you are and what you really care about,” says de Rossi, 45. “Not just now, but what you’ve always cared about — what you were influenced by and what has made you the amazing person that you are today.”

“It’s the best gift,” says an emotional DeGeneres. “When we got married, Portia’s line was, ‘It’s good to be loved, it’s profound to be understood.’ And she understands me, because that is the best gift that anybody could have given me. I love you.”

The Ellen DeGeneres Show airs weekdays (check local listings).