"I know how lonely it gets, because I know that these are times when people just turn their back on you," said Kevin Hart

By Benjamin VanHoose
August 19, 2020 10:41 AM
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Kevin Hart is explaining why he stands by his friends during public controversies.

In a new interview with Deadline, the Kevin Hart: Don’t F**k This Up star, 41, spoke out about supporting Ellen DeGeneres and Nick Cannon as they each faced scandals.

DeGeneres, 62, and producers of her popular daytime talk show were accused of fostering a "toxic" work environment, resulting in apologies from the host herself and firings behind the scenes. Meanwhile, Cannon, 39, apologized to fans after making anti-Semitic remarks during a recent podcast episode.

Hart — who was called out for past homophobic comments back in December 2018, resulting in him apologizing and stepping down from Oscar hosting duties — said he honors his friendships in the entertainment industry when many others might not.

Kevin Hart, Ellen DeGeneres and Nick Cannon
| Credit: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images; Daniele Venturelli/WireImage; Michael Kovac/Getty Images

"I don’t lose sight of the definition of friendship, and in our business, it’s one thing that people don’t really hold on to. There’s a lot of relationships that are fake, and there’s some that are real," he explained. "In my case, the ones that are real are the ones that I’m always going to be adamant about speaking on behalf of."

Ellen DeGeneres
| Credit: Brooks Kraft/Getty
Kevin Hart and Ellen DeGeneres
| Credit: Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

"I know the people that both of them are, and knowing the people, all I can say is my experiences with those people," Hart said of DeGeneres and Cannon. "That’s not to take away from what other people are saying that they have had and that they have done. It’s just to highlight what I’m saying I know, and what I can speak on behalf of."

The comedian added that he knows "how dark it gets."

"I know how lonely it gets because I know that these are times when people just turn their back on you. So for the ones that you love, that are close to your heart, you just want them to have some support when it seems that there is none out there, and that’s just who I am as a person," he explained.

Nick Cannon
| Credit: Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

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"That goes for anybody, across the board, that I consider a friend, and that’s not a big group of people," continued Hart. "Everybody doesn’t get that conversation and that feeling from me, but the ones that do, I’m serious about it. I’m true to it, and it doesn’t mean that you have to speak on behalf of the problem. It doesn’t mean that you have to disregard the things that others are saying. It means that I can just speak on my relationship with my friends."

Hart said when it comes to DeGeneres and Cannon: "I know who they are, and I know who they’ve been for the years that I’ve been around them, and I can only speak to that. Those are two of the most amazing people that I know."

Hart and DeGeneres were recently spotted meeting up together for lunch in Montecito, California, over a week after the actor defended her as an investigation was launched into multiple allegations about the workplace culture of her daytime talk show. Hart publicly stood by DeGeneres earlier this month, calling her “one of the dopest people on the f------ planet.”

“She has treated my family and team with love and respect from day 1," he wrote, going on to condemn the backlash DeGeneres has received. "The internet has become a crazy world of negativity... we are falling in love with peoples down fall. It’s honestly sad.”

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DeGeneres stood by Hart last year amid controversy over his past homophobic tweets, for which he later apologized. At the time, DeGeneres invited the actor onto her talk show and revealed that she felt Hart had grown as a person and that as a member of the LGBTQ community, she accepted his apology.

Speaking to PEOPLE in January 2019, Cannon praised DeGeneres for defending Hart at the time.

“I love Ellen and she definitely is one of the bosses in the game. When one of the bosses calls for you, that’s always a good look. She’s an entertainment guru that’s been doing it for a long time that we all respect,” Cannon said.

“To see a friend reach a moment like that, to be able to share it with him and then two days later the entire energy is shifted, it hit him pretty hard,” Cannon said of Hart. “I know how important that opportunity was for him, how excited he was. ... He sincerely apologized, but it wasn’t to keep a job. You never want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but you’re not going to be forced or told to do something just for occupation or for money.”