"I'm really happy for every single thing that happened in my life," said Ellen DeGeneres after accepting the Carol Burnett Award at the Golden Globes

By Benjamin VanHoose
January 06, 2020 08:38 AM

Ellen DeGeneres wouldn’t change a thing in her past — the good or the bad.

On Sunday, the talk show host, 61, was awarded the Carol Burnett Award at the Golden Globes in Los Angeles, a lifetime achievement honor for contributions to television.

The recognition meant a lot to DeGeneres, who reflected on her life’s journey leading up to the big win.

“I think that I’m really happy for every single thing that happened in my life,” she told reporters after her acceptance speech. “I’m happy for the people that didn’t support me, I’m happy for the times that were the hardest times of my life, because I feel like that’s what makes you, you know?”

DeGeneres, who has hosted her popular daytime series since 2003, said the ups and downs in her life built her character and defined her.

“If everything is easy, you don’t really have anything to compare it to,” she said. “I’m really grateful for all the hard times, all the things that didn’t work out the way I wanted them to work out, and I feel bad for people that have everything working all the time, because that’s just not life.”

Portia de Rossi and Ellen DeGeneres
Portia de Rossi and Ellen DeGeneres
| Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

She added: “Life doesn’t work that way so I’m just grateful for my journey — and, of course, my husband Mark.”

The fictitious spouse “Mark” who the comedian — who is married to Portia de Rossi — referred to is a callback to her acceptance speech earlier in the evening, during which DeGeneres winked at her own trailblazing efforts in LGBTQ representation.

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Saturday Night Live star Kate McKinnon presented DeGeneres with the award, holding back tears as she shared how much the comedian helped her process her own sexual identity as a young person.

“In 1997, when Ellen’s sitcom was at the height of its popularity, I was in my mother’s basement lifting weights in front of the mirror thinking, ‘Am I gay?’ And I was. And I still am. But that’s a very scary thing to suddenly know about yourself,” McKinnon, 36, laughed.

“She risked her entire life and her entire career in order to tell the truth, and she suffered greatly for it,” she continued. “Of course, attitudes change, but only because brave people like Ellen jump into the fire to make them change. And if I hadn’t seen her on TV, I would’ve thought, ‘I could never be on TV.’”

The 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony aired live on NBC from the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles on Sunday, Jan. 5.