Rori Rhodes, Ellen DeGeneres’ Stepsister: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Ellen DeGeneres Rori Rhodes

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Rori Rhodes is television host Ellen DeGeneres‘ step-sister.

Rhodes, a 70-year-old interior designer in Dallas, Texas, spoke out to slam DeGeneres for alleging that her step-father, Rhodes’ biological dad, sexually abused her as a child.

Rhodes, who admitted that she did not know whether DeGeneres’ allegations were true, told the Daily Mail that she only made the “pathetic” allegation to “sell a TV show.”

“I don’t know if it’s true. I don’t know if Daddy did that. But it’s like, really? It’s so sad that she’s doing that,” Rhodes told the outlet.

DeGeneres said in an interview with David Letterman that was released last week on Netflix that her stepfather, Roy Grussendorf, groped her breasts under the guise of checking them for lumps after her mother’s breast cancer diagnosis.

Grussendorf passed away in 1997. DeGeneres’ mother Betty said in a statement to NBC News that she regretted not believing her daughter when she spoke out about the alleged groping.

“I love my daughter, and I wish I had the capacity to listen to her when she told me what happened,” she said.

Here’s what you need to know:


1. Rori Rhodes is Ellen DeGeneres’ Step-Sister

Rhodes is the biological daughter of Roy Grussendorf, Ellen DeGeneres’ step-father.

Rhodes, 70, is an interior designer at Sacred Spaces in Dallas, Texas, according to her LinkedIn bio.

“I call my business Sacred Spaces because I feel that is why a client hires me,” she wrote on her page. “Not to create a space that is ‘in’ or I like but a sacred space for them to come home to and feel great. Good design is about how it ‘feels’ as much as visual.”

She has worked as an interior designer since 1987, according to the page.

Rhodes previously attended Oklahoma State University and graduated from Northwest Classen High School, according to her Facebook page.


2. Rhodes Spoke Out After DeGeneres Accused Her Step-Father of Sexual Abuse

Ellen Details Abuse By Her StepfatherAfter Ellen DeGeneres revealed the details of the sexual assault she suffered at the hands of her stepfather when she was a teenager, Sangita Patel and Graeme O’Neil react during ET Canada Live. SUBSCRIBE to our channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/ETCanadaOfficial FOLLOW us here: http://www.etcanada.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/etcanada Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/etcanada Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/etcanada #Ellen #DavidLetterman #MeToo2019-05-31T19:13:47.000Z

Rhodes went public after DeGeneres accused Grussendorf of sexually abusing her as a child.

DeGeneres told David Letterman that her stepfather, then around 55 years old, tried to use her mother’s breast cancer diagnosis to try to grope her while her mom was out of town.

“He told me when she was out of town that he’d felt a lump in her breast and needed to feel my breasts because he didn’t want to upset her, but he needed to feel mine,” DeGeneres said. “He convinced me that he needs to feel my breasts and then he tries to do it again another time, and then another time.”

DeGeneres previously described the alleged abuse in a magazine interview 14 years earlier, claiming Grussendorf tried to break down her door, causing her to escape the house through a window.

“He tries to break my door down, and I kicked the window out and ran ’cause I knew it was going to go more to something,” she said. “And I didn’t want to tell my mother because I was protecting her and I knew that would ruin her happiness.”

“I’m angry at myself because, you know, I didn’t, I was too weak to stand up to [him], I was 15 or 16,” she added. “It’s a really horrible, horrible story and the only reason I’m actually going to go into detail about it is because I want other girls to not ever let someone do that.”

DeGeneres’ mother Betty said that Ellen told her about the alleged groping after she moved out of Grussendorf’s home but she didn’t believe her daughter.

“I know now that one of the hardest things to do is speak up after being sexually abused,” Betty said in a statement to NBC News. “I love my daughter, and I wish I had the capacity to listen to her when she told me what happened.”

“I live with that regret, and I wouldn’t want that for any other parent,” she added. “If someone in your life has the courage to speak out, please believe them.”


3. Rhodes Accused DeGeneres of Using Allegations to ‘Sell a TV Show’

Ellen DeGeneres Opens Up About Being Sexually Assaulted As A Teen | NBC Nightly NewsDeGeneres told David Letterman she was abused at age 15 by her stepfather after her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in an interview for the Netflix show “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction.” » Subscribe to NBC News: http://nbcnews.to/SubscribeToNBC » Watch more NBC video: http://bit.ly/MoreNBCNews NBC News Digital is a collection of innovative and powerful news brands that deliver compelling, diverse and engaging news stories. NBC News Digital features NBCNews.com, MSNBC.com, TODAY.com, Nightly News, Meet the Press, Dateline, and the existing apps and digital extensions of these respective properties. We deliver the best in breaking news, live video coverage, original journalism and segments from your favorite NBC News Shows. Connect with NBC News Online! Visit NBCNews.Com: http://nbcnews.to/ReadNBC Find NBC News on Facebook: http://nbcnews.to/LikeNBC Follow NBC News on Twitter: http://nbcnews.to/FollowNBC Follow NBC News on Instagram: http://nbcnews.to/InstaNBC Ellen DeGeneres Opens Up About Being Sexually Assaulted As A Teen | NBC Nightly News2019-05-29T00:24:05.000Z

Rhodes spoke out about the claims to The Daily Mail, which described her reaction as “livid” and “furious.”

“I don’t know if it’s true. I don’t know if Daddy did that. But it’s like, really? It’s so sad that she’s doing that,” Rhodes told the outlet. “It’s pathetic. The man has been dead forever. Why do they all think they have to bring up something horrible from their childhood? She can’t prove that, my dad’s not alive to prove it, and it’s just not necessary.”

“I don’t know what happened, I would probably bet a lot of money that Daddy didn’t do that. He might have been concerned about Betty’s breasts, and her breasts were turning black which they do, and wanting to know about that,” she continued. “But the bottom line is I wouldn’t trust anything Ellen would say, ever. It’s always been about Ellen. She doesn’t care about anybody else, it’s all about what she needs to do.”

Rhodes alleged that DeGeneres repeated the claims for publicity.

“For her to bring up trash like this, like she is now, I don’t understand that. To sell a book? To sell a TV show?” Rhodes said. “It’s a bunch of bullsh*t. I mean really? What is the purpose of doing all of this? Are we talking about money here? Ellen has enough money, she doesn’t have to do this.”

Rhodes added that the entire Me Too movement is “out of control.”

“I’ve had guys come up to me and try to do all kinds of things. And all I hear from women is whining. All you have to do is tell the guys ‘you touch me, I’ll kill you,'” she said. “We’re talking about women being powerful. Well, girlfriend, get your big girl panties on and go into the real world. I hate whiny women.”


4. Rhodes is Not Close With Ellen, She Says

Ellen DeGeneres Is Not Really Who You Think She IsThe Evolution Of Ellen Degeneres From Stand Up Comic To TV Show Host Legend. Subscribe to our channel: https://goo.gl/hHvOf8 Ellen DeGeneres has done pretty much everything in the entertainment industry and now she can add her very own Netflix stand up comedy special, “Ellen DeGeneres: Relatable” to the mix. From “The Ellen Show” we know exactly what a wonderful person she is, but where is she from and who made Ellen into the wonderful powerful, LGBTQ positive woman she is today? Her partner, Portia De Rossi and her are deeply in love. Ellen’s evolution from unknown to fame, may not be easy, but it was one filled with hilarious stand up comedy…the only sad news is that her show may be ending. Watch TheTalko video to see Ellen before she was famous and how she became the inspiring comedy icon today; loved by literally everyone. Celebs and fans alike can’t get enough of this woman and we’ll tell you even more about this awesome human! Let’s dig in, grab your funny bone on this wild ride! —————————————————————————————– Our Social Media: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheTalko Twitter: https://twitter.com/thetalko Instagram: https://instagram.com/the_talko —————————————————————————————– For more videos and articles visit: http://www.thetalko.com/2019-01-10T18:30:00.000Z

Rhodes told The Daily Mail that DeGeneres never told her family the allegations but admitted she and Ellen were never really close.

“She doesn’t care. She’s never reached out to us, she’s never done anything,” Rhodes said. “My brothers are so angry they don’t even want to talk about it. I guess this horrible situation that happened in her childhood didn’t affect the fact that she’s a superstar.”

Rhodes explained that her father divorced her mother twice before marrying Betty in 1974.

Rhodes, who is nine years older than Ellen, said they would sometimes “hang out” but Rhodes “never really connected with her.”

“We were there for Daddy for that. Ellen was out for Ellen so we never really connected with her. I didn’t like her or dislike her. Daddy was married to Betty so I wanted to be a part of Ellen’s life,” Rhodes said.


5. DeGeneres Had Difficult Relationship With Step-Father Because She Was Gay

The Backlash Ellen DeGeneres Faced After Coming Out | Oprah’s Master Class | Oprah Winfrey NetworkWhen Ellen DeGeneres came out as a lesbian in 1997, more than 40 million people tuned in to see her sitcom character declare that she was gay on primetime television. Following that landmark moment, Ellen appeared on the Oprah Show, agreed to an interview with Time magazine and sat down with Diane Sawyer. The media firestorm that followed, however, was bigger than she ever expected. Religious groups staged protests, commentators criticized her on national news, and her hit show, Ellen, was canceled. For more on #masterclass, visit http://bit.ly/1ZQfeZO Find OWN on TV at http://www.oprah.com/FindOWN #OWNTV #masterclass #Oprahwinfrey SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/1vqD1PN Download the Watch OWN App: http://bit.ly/2hr1nX2 About Oprah’s Master Class: The acclaimed, Emmy-nominated series “Oprah's Master Class” tells the stories you've never heard from the people you thought you knew best. Hand-picked by Oprah Winfrey for their unique impact on the world, true modern masters from Academy Award-winning actors, to Grammy-winning musicians, to ground-breaking athletes, share the greatest lessons they've learned along the way. In an intimate setting, they share their successes, their failures, their triumphs, disappointments and heartbreaks. About OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network is the first and only network named for, and inspired by, a single iconic leader. Oprah Winfrey's heart and creative instincts inform the brand — and the magnetism of the channel. Winfrey provides leadership in programming and attracts superstar talent to join her in primetime, building a global community of like-minded viewers and leading that community to connect on social media and beyond. OWN is a singular destination on cable. Depth with edge. Heart. Star power. Connection. And endless possibilities. Discover OWN TV: Find OWN on your TV!: http://bit.ly/1wJ0ugI Our Fantastic Lineup: http://bit.ly/1qMi2jE Connect with OWN Online: Visit the OWN WEBSITE: http://bit.ly/1qMi2jE Like OWN on FACEBOOK: http://on.fb.me/1AXYujp Follow OWN on TWITTER: http://bit.ly/1sJin8Y Follow OWN on INSTAGRAM: http://bit.ly/LnqzMz Follow OWN on PINTEREST: http://bit.ly/2dvfPeN The Backlash Ellen DeGeneres Faced After Coming Out | Oprah’s Master Class | Oprah Winfrey Network http://www.youtube.com/user/OWN2015-10-26T21:33:06.000Z

Rhodes said she did not know of any sexual abuse allegations but told The Daily Mail that DeGeneres and Grussendorf did not get along because she was gay and because she was pursuing a career in comedy.

“I remember Daddy saying ‘she doesn’t want to help us clean the house, she goes out all night.’ Daddy couldn’t understand that she had this passion for being a comedian. But more importantly the fact that she’s gay, he couldn’t understand that,” Rhodes said.

“He didn’t hate her, but he didn’t respect her in any way because she was gone all night long, she didn’t take care of the house, she was hell-bent on being a comedian,” Rhodes explained. “He did not respect Ellen, basically because she was gay. My daddy did not understand gays. I mean, my daddy still called blacks ‘c**ns’. He just couldn’t accept it.”

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