Pass the tissues. With nine years of marriage to Ellen DeGeneres, actress Portia de Rossi seemingly knows everything about her significant other, including what keeps the talk show host up at night. So for Ellen’s 60th birthday—received with much fanfare with appearances from celebrity guests like Michelle Obama—de Rossi prepared an extra special gift to help DeGeneres in her quest to make this world a better place.
“It’s your 60th birthday and this gift had to be really special,” she noted to the birthday girl on the February 1 episode. “And it had to represent who you are and what you care about… What you were influenced by and what has made you the amazing person that you are today. So I combined that and questions from when we first met like, ‘Who’s your idol?’ And ‘What would you do if you were a talk show host?’”
Now that DeGeneres has achieved so much in her career, a new thought has entered the picture in the last few years, according to de Rossi. “Literally guys, for the last two years, Ellen has said to me, ‘I feel like I’m not doing enough,’” she revealed.
With these conversations in mind ahead of her wife’s 60th birthday, de Rossi carefully mapped out a plan to spiritually and purposefully link DeGeneres to her late hero, researcher and conservationist Dian Fossey. “Ellen read how in 1967, Dian Fossey set up a camp she called Karisoke in the Virunga Mountains in Rwanda. This is where Dian began studying several dozen gorillas, and at that time, Dian was alone in protecting them,” she shared in an accompanying clip. Fossey was murdered in 1985, but her legacy lives on with the Karisoke Research Center in Rwanda.
“So, for your birthday, Ellen, I am bringing you and your hero together by building the Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund,” de Rossi shared. That wasn’t all. The doting spouse also established the Ellen DeGeneres Wildlife Fund for DeGeneres’ own thoughtful interpretation. The gesture, naturally, moved the show host to tears.
“It’s the best gift,” DeGeneres noted as she clutched tissues. “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 pair married in a cozy backyard ceremony before 19 family members and friends. They will celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary this year.