"I just didn't want to pretend to be somebody else anymore so that people would like me," DeGeneres says in a clip from Oprah's Master Class

Updated October 26, 2015 07:45 PM
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Ellen DeGeneres says one of the defining moments of her life and career nearly didn’t happen.

The star, who publicly came out as a lesbian in 1997, broke ground when her character on her sitcom Ellen also came out.

“I didn’t think I was going to come out, period. I didn’t think I’d be coming out on a show, ever,” DeGeneres says in a clip for Sunday’s episode of Oprah’s Master Class.

She says going on a retreat helped her realize coming out was the right thing to do. During the retreat at California s Esalen Institute, DeGeneres took a course on changing the inner dialogue of the subconscious mind.

“It was scary and crazy and what came out of listening to what I had been saying to myself is, ‘Would I still be famous? Would they still love me if they knew I was gay,’ ” she recalls. “I just didn’t want to pretend to be somebody else anymore so that people would like me.”

Oprah’s Master Class airs Sundays (8 p.m. ET) on OWN.