Ellen DeGeneres got emotional when discussing the recent, deadly California mudslides with Oprah Winfrey on Thursday’s episode of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
The TV host opened up about the recent devastating California fires and mudslide that killed at least 17 people on Tuesday. The host opened her show talking to the audience about the devastation before she FaceTimed Winfrey, who lives in the same Santa Barbara County area as DeGeneres and her wife, Portia de Rossi.
“One of the things that I want to talk about is you know, we’ve had these terrible fires all over California, and one of the hardest hit areas is where I live in Montecito. We have had mandatory evacuations,” DeGeneres said. “So, we were just able to get back into our house on Dec. 27, and I got back over the holidays, and I just drove around. I love that community so much. There were just signs everywhere that said thank you and grateful just everywhere saying thank you to the firefighters and first responders. And it made me so proud to live there. I just love this place.”
DeGeneres explained that on Jan. 7, she was told there was a mandatory evacuation in her neighborhood following heavy rains.
“So again, we evacuated because they feared mudslides. After everything we’ve been through, I think a lot of people thought they were just being overly cautious, but exactly what they feared happened. The rain triggered massive mudslides. Massive,” she said, then showing some of the damage to the surrounding areas of her home.
“I work in LA, but I consider Montecito my home. I live there, Oprah lives there,” she said. “It’s not just a wealthy community; it’s filled with a lot of different types of people from all backgrounds. And there are families missing; there are people who are missing family members.”
Winfrey also shared an up-close-and-personal look at the devastation on her property from the disaster.
After the Golden Globes, Winfrey said that she returned to her home and was awoken around 3:45 a.m. by the sound of her dog barking. She saw that the “sky seemed like it was on fire.” The following day, Winfrey thought “everything’s fine,” but when she went outside, she saw the real devastation.
“Where I am now, which is the east side of my property, I was walking down here, and all of my neighbors’ homes are gutted. I’m standing right now still in a lot of mud but not as much as yesterday. I walked out back, you know, where we share a fence line, and the neighbors out back, their houses are gone. It’s as devastating as can be,” she said. Winfrey ran into some members of the Venture City Fire Department while on her walk, and the audience applauded as one of them described the area and said that they are still searching for victims.
The media maven endured minimal home damage compared to other residents, but her heart went out to those who are missing or lost relatives in the mudslide.
“It’s devastating. We’ve lost so many lives, and it’s a tiny community, and nobody would’ve expected, certainly, I did not, that after we survived the fire … the rain came. Who would’ve expected we have this devastation again with the mudslides, and so soon?” she said. “But we’re going to do what we do. We’re going to come together, and we’re going to do what great Americans do all the time. We’re going to help each other. We’re going to help each other out wherever needed.”