Ellen DeGeneres says she came into her 'own power' in the last decade

The comedian said it happened during the "last 10 years."

ByABC News
September 7, 2017, 12:31 PM

— -- Ellen DeGeneres has been one of the most influential women on television since her show premiered in 2003. But the comedian admits she only became self-confident in the last decade.

"I didn’t really come into my own power and understanding of who I am until probably the last 10 years," she said in a new interview withTime magazine.

"I was very shy. I was insecure," DeGeneres, 59, continued. "I needed to feel liked and loved, which is why most people go into this business."

DeGeneres is profiled in a special issue of the magazine called "Firsts: Women Who Are Changing the World," which recognizes women who have broken the glass ceiling in their fields. Other women featured include Oprah Winfrey, Madeleine Albright, Gabby Douglas, Barbara Walters and Selena Gomez.

In the wide-ranging interview, she also recalled a time when her stand-up comedy routine didn't work. It was when she performed in San Francisco, right after she was named Showtime’s "Funniest Person in America" in 1982.

The comedian said she followed two guys who performed "very homophobic" material.

"By the time I got onstage, it was a very angry, testosterone-filled crowd. And I just bombed," she said. "I was doing a phone call to God. God’s talking, and I’m listening -- there are spaces for people to yell out. The entire front row of guys turned their chairs around and faced the audience. Everyone laughed. The whole audience was against me. So I walked off the stage."

Still, DeGeneres said she never gave up on stand-up comedy.

"When it works, there’s nothing better than making people laugh," she said. "There’s no better feeling."