Comedienne Ellen DeGeneres has opened up about her White House ID drama, which almost kept her from last week’s (ends25Nov16) Medal of Freedom ceremony.
The Finding Dory star was selected to receive America’s highest civilian honour from President Barack Obama, alongside A-listers like Tom Hanks, Robert Redford and Robert De Niro, but she sparked a panic upon her arrival at the White House when it became clear she had no identification.
“(My wife) Portia (de Rossi) and I are walking with the person that’s handling us… and we’re, like, midway, almost there and she just turns to me and she goes, ‘You have your ID, right?'” Ellen explained during a taped monologue for her daytime talk show, which aired on Tuesday (29Nov16). “I was like, ‘No. No I don’t have my ID’… She thought I was kidding. I was like, ‘Why would I need… I’m getting the Medal of Freedom. I didn’t think I needed (it)’.”
Ellen posted a photo of herself online last week, sitting on a bench on the grounds of the White House as security staff attempted to fix the problem, and told fans of her U.S. TV show she was “freezing”.
“I thought I was just going from the car into the White House, so I didn’t bring a jacket,” she added. “It was, like, 60 degrees (Fahrenheit), you guys. And all the honourees are passing me – Bruce Springsteen and (his wife) Patty are passing me and they’re like, ‘How do you not bring ID to the White House?'”
Ellen and her wife finally made it inside the White House, and the comedienne admits the emotional ceremony was worth the wait in the cold: “The ceremony was incredible,” she said. “It was beautiful. I don’t even know how to express in words how honoured I felt getting that (award) from the President of the United States, who I love so very much.”
She also had a little fun while she was waiting for the ceremony to begin, shooting a Mannequin Challenge with her fellow nominees and posting the footage online.