Portia de Rossi Officially Portia DeGeneres, Takes Ellen’s Last Name

The woman formally known as Portia de Rossi, and before that known as Amanda Rogers, is now legally Portia Lee James DeGeneres.  Portia and Ellen married on August 16th, 2008 and filed to legally change her name in August 2010. If you’re like me and enjoy reading the fine print, TMZ hooks us right up with those court documents.

This is a milestone year for Portia, as she is about to release her autobiography, Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain, on November 2. The book details her life as a child model in Australia and a move to Hollywood with dreams of making it actress while struggling with her sexuality and body image.

… as she rose to fame as a cast member of the hit television shows Ally McBeal and Arrested Development, Portia alternately starved herself and binged, all the while terrified that the truth of her sexuality would be exposed in the tabloids. She reveals the heartache and fear that accompany a life lived in the closet, a sense of isolation that was only magnified by her unrelenting desire to be ever thinner. With the storytelling skills of a great novelist and the eye for detail of a poet, Portia makes transparent as never before the behaviors and emotions of someone living with an eating disorder.

Rosie O’Donnell read an advance copy of the book and raved about it on her radio show this week, calling it “raw, honest and fascinating.”

In this searing, unflinchingly honest book, de Rossi captures the complex emotional truth of what it is like when food, weight, and body image take priority over every other human impulse or action. She recounts the elaborate rituals around eating that came to dominate hours of every day, from keeping her daily calorie intake below 300 to eating precisely measured amounts of food out of specific bowls and only with certain utensils. When this wasn’t enough, she resorted to purging and compulsive physical exercise, driving her body and spirit to the breaking point.

Jess is a pop culture junkie living in New York City. She enjoys endless debates about The L Word, Howard Stern, new techy gadgets, DVR, exploring the labyrinth of the Lesbian Internet, memoirs, working out, sushi, making lists, artsy things, anything Lady Gaga touches, traveling, puppies, and nyc in the fall. Find her on Twitter @jessxnyc or via email.

Jess has written 266 articles for us.

16 Comments

  1. It’ll be interesting to hear her explain why she changed her name in future interviews. I’ve been wondering how same sex couples will approach the matter of name changing as we get closer and closer to marriage equality. It’s certainly been something I’ve been grappling with myself.

    • I took my wife’s name when we got married, for complex personal as well as political reasons.

      June 2009: I’ll never forget stomping angrily into the Social Security and DMV offices in Oakland, all possible required legal documents in hand, demanding the name change as a LEGALLY gay married woman. It went surprisingly smoothly, which is good as I was clearly all heated up over the CA Supreme Court upholding Proposition 8, and gunning for a fight. Or at least a scene.

      • Good to hear! I live in Oakland and have been avoiding going to the DMV when I was thinking of buying a parking permit. Nice to know at least my experience will be smooth when my fiance and I go in and change our last names to “SexyFace”. Or maybe we should just change our names to a symbol like “!” or”<3".

    • Just like with thoughtful heterosexual couples (and believe me, people in hetero relationships think about this as much as we do, especially the ladies), it’s all very, very personal.

      As I’ve mentioned, my partner and I are squishing together the best sounding/most easily pronounced and spelled parts of our names and smooshing them together. I’ve known couples who hyphenate, couples where one partner takes the other’s name, couples that don’t change their names at all, couples that make up a new name to tack on the end.

      It is a changing world where traditions, at least around heteronormative marriage, are being pushed aside or changed altogether!

  2. wow idk thats interesting news on soo many levels…wow who is miss portia and what happened to her who knew wow ellen seems to have made this woman internally happy u go ladies happy for ya both…and i get it i nevr had a eating disorder but every1 has their vices or addictions in this world of hate and perfection but true….soo interested in reading this book i am a huge fan of autobiographies soo im going to have to check this out for sure…If any1 wants to read a good story “A Piece of Cake” by cupcake brown its motivating sad and compelling that we can be anything we want we just have to try and we all deal with some form of addiction or bad behavior even if its something as little as smoking or txt and driving

  3. YEAH THEY DO HAVE OR IT SEEMS TO HAVE A AMAZING LOVE FOR EACH OTHER AND U KNOW WHAT GOOD FOR THEM PORTIA WAS IN THE CLOSET AND ELLEN WELL WE ALL KNOW WHAT ANNE DID TO HER SOO I FEEL KHARMA HAS SET IN VERY WELL FOR THE 2 IT GIVES ME HOPE THAT 1 DAY I WILL BE MARRIED IN A AMAZING RELATIONSHIP ITS DEF NOT THAT EASY IN TODAYS SOCIETY

  4. awwwwww yay. does anyone know where the “Lee James” part came from?

    also: gossip blogs (ick) are saying things like “Portia de Rossi can now officially call herself Mrs. Ellen DeGeneres!” oh sure, feel free to make Ellen the “man” in the relationship… Portia’s identify is not just as ellen’s wife…what if all this time, Ellen was just waiting for the ability to legally call herself Mrs. Portia de Generes! sheesh.

    • It seems to me like Portia being the one to change her name sort of invites that though. :-/ As nice as it would be if het couples were evenly split between men and women changing their name, in practise men who change their name are vanishingly rare.

      IDK maybe it’s just that I’m bitter – I’m bi and would never EVER change my name if I married a man, ditto for a woman. I get why people think this is charming, I just find it sort of infuriating & feel like I’m sitting in a corner going, that’s your professional name! Is this meaningless gesture more important than your professional name? Is her name more important than the name you chose for yourself when you were 15, a name that was with you in your early career and, hey, during your romance? During a couple of romances? *hands*

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