As Portia de Rossi approached her 45th birthday, she was mentally prepared to close the acting chapter of her life.
“You aren’t a big fan of doing press and talk shows,” said de Rossi’s wife and TV host Ellen DeGeneres on Wednesday’s The Ellen DeGeneres Show. “She really doesn’t. That’s why she actually quit acting. You decided you didn’t want to do anything more with acting and you got off of Scandal.”
“I was approaching 45 and I just kind of … was wondering is there something that I could tackle now that I’ve never done before that would be really challenging and different. I kind of knew what acting would look like for me for the next 10, 20 years, so I decided to quit and start a business,” de Rossi explained to DeGeneres.
De Rossi, who most recently starred as Lindsay Bluth Fünke on Arrested Development (2003-13) and as Elizabeth North on Scandal (2014-17), decided to say goodbye to her on-camera career a year-and-a-half ago.
“I made this decision about 18 months ago. [Scandal creator] Shonda Rhimes wrote me off Scandal, it was fine,” said de Rossi, 45.
But after a conversation with Arrested Development creator Mitch Hurwitz, she had a change of heart.
“I called Mitch Hurwitz, who’s the creator of Arrested Development and I said, ‘If there is a season 5, I won’t be doing it because I quit acting. And he seemed really understanding and he totally got it. We had a great conversation, and then he wrote me into five episodes,” she said. “Don’t know how it happened, but yes, I am on season 5.”
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In a week, de Rossi and DeGeneres will be traveling to Rwanda, where the TV host is building the Ellen DeGeneres campus to help save the mountain gorillas there. “We have to raise $10 million to build this foundation,” explained DeGeneres.
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As the couple readies to travel to Africa, they have the full support of the Arrested Development family.
“The people from Arrested Development love you all and know that you’re heading off to a trip to Rwanda for such a great cause,” tWitch said before presenting them with a check from Arrested Development. “And in honor of that, they’re going to present a check to the Ellen DeGeneres Wildlife Fund for $50,000.”
“That is so generous, I can’t believe that,” said de Rossi, as DeGeneres quipped: “What it means is they want you to do season 6.”