The final episode of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" airs on NBC on May 26, capping off a 19-year run on daytime television for the host, now 64. And as TV insiders recently told Page Six, it's been an "emotional" time for Ellen, who filmed the last installment late last month.
"Ellen's been crying a lot," a source told the outlet in a report published May 14. "The whole few weeks leading up to the finale were very emotional."
Ellen reportedly skipped the fanfare of a red carpet or a celeb-stuffed audience for the episode, which features Jennifer Aniston and Pink — guests who also appeared on the show's premiere back in 2003.
"She wanted to go out quietly. It was friends and family of the cast and crew in the audience," said another TV insider.
Both Ellen's wife, Portia de Rossi, and her brother, Vance DeGeneres, made a point of supporting the star on-set as she filmed the final shows.
"Ellen, 100 percent, did it on her own terms," a third insider told Page Six. "She went out the way she wanted to. There wasn't a dry eye in the house on the last day."
Ellen announced her departure plans 10 months after she and a number of top producers on the show were hit with wide-ranging allegations they'd fostered a toxic workplace. After Buzzfeed News published claims of routine intimidation from higher-ups, sexual harassment, racism and more negativity happening behind the scenes in 2020, Warner Bros. launched an internal investigation and found enough evidence to fire producers Ed Glavin, Kevin Leman and Jonathan Norman.
When Ellen returned to kick off Season 18, she addressed the scandal in the first episode, telling viewers: "I learned that things happen here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously. And I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected."
Ratings dropped during substantially during that 2020-2021 season, according to the New York Post, and Ellen would later admit to Savannah Guthrie on "Today" that she considered ending the show immediately because the allegations were "devastating."
Instead, she soldiered on.
"When Ellen started the show, she was told by the studio 'you can't say 'we' when you talk about your girlfriend,' that's what she was dealing with at the beginning," another source said, referring to Ellen's controversial decision to come out as gay.
"No one ever thought that the show would be aired, even to sell it in the beginning was so difficult," the person continued. "She always wanted to go to 19 seasons, she had people who relied on her for their livelihoods."
Over her nearly two decades on the air, Ellen donated "almost half a billion dollars to viewers and people in need," the Post noted.
After shooting the final episode, Ellen reportedly celebrated the milestone at a party in Hollywood with the crew and friends.
"When you look back at all the things she's done for people over the 19 years, it's powerful," one insider added. "The most important thing for Ellen during the final few weeks and for everyone on the team was to show the family that that show is — and so the emotion came from the feeling of togetherness they had."
In a post about the finale on Instagram last week, Ellen shared her gratitude with fans, writing, "Thank you to everyone who is celebrating my final season with me. ❤️."