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04/14/2013 10:34 am ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Ellen DeGeneres On TIME Magazine: Comedian Came Out 16 Years Ago On Iconic Cover

Few careers have seen the extreme highs and lows that Ellen DeGeneres' has. The talk-show host and comedian is veritably on top of the world right now -- and has been for several years. But that comes as a stark contrast to the sharp downturn her career saw in 1997 after she revealed that she is gay.

This time 16 years ago, on April 14, 1997, DeGeneres unveiled her big secret on what has now become a famous cover of TIME magazine, plastered with the words "Yep, I'm gay." The funny lady didn't work for three years following her admission, and it took a few more for her to officially redeem her A-list stature in the public eye, which came largely thanks to her hilarious turn in "Finding Nemo" and the debut of her eponymous talk show.

It wasn't easy being an out Hollywood star in the 1990s, and today we salute DeGeneres' bravery for enduring the intense backlash she saw for the span of several years. Sixteen years after her bold decision to reveal her true self, let's take a look at the rise, fall and return of America's sweetheart.

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Ellen DeGeneres
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Ellen DeGeneres

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