Ellen DeGeneres reveals heartbreaking loss over girlfriend at age 20

Michael Rozman  Warner Bros

Michael Rozman Warner Bros

"It was during this time that she thought, "'Why is this lovely, 21-year-old girl just gone and fleas are here?'" DeGeneres recalled to Shepard.

The 60-year-old explained to Dax Shepard how the tragic death of her girlfriend when she was 20 spurred her on and eventually led her into stand up comedy.

The Emmy Award winning host opened up about the loss during an appearance on podcast Armchair Expert.

"She was trying to get me to come back home (and) I acted like I couldn't hear her because the music was too loud", she recalled.

"I couldn't afford to live where we were living together and so I moved into this tiny little basement apartment", said 10-time Emmy victor.

Ellen went on to explain that after her girlfriend was killed, she could no longer afford to live in the apartment they shared together.

Ellen DeGeneres has been revisiting a painful period in her life before she was a successful comedienne and chat show host. So, she moved into a "basement apartment" and slept on a mattress "infested with fleas" on the floor. "I'm going to do this on Johnny Carson and I'm going to be the first woman in the history of the show be asked to sit down'".

The harsh randomness of existence got to her, she explained, saying "I just thought it would be unbelievable if we could just pick up the phone and call up God and ask questions and get an answer".

"So I started writing". It just unfolded. I wrote the entire thing. "When I finished I read it and thought "oh my god, that's hilarious", she said.

And that prediction came true: In November 1996, a comedian by the name of Ellen DeGeneres became the first woman be invited to sit down on Carson's couch after a stand-up routine.