Entries in 20/20 (7)


Ellen DeGeneres Reflects on Coming-Out Episode, 15 Years Later

Noel Vasquez/Getty Images for Extra(NEW YORK) -- Ellen DeGeneres is a powerhouse name these days, associated with a successful talk show, awards shows and talent competitions as well as a serious love for dancing -- something she's even shared with President Obama.

But 15 years ago, on ABC's "20/20" in April 1997, days before the airing of the episode in which she announced that she was gay, the funny, kind, brave and huge star of her own show shared her fears of coming out.

"If they found out I was gay, maybe they wouldn't applaud," she said. "Maybe they wouldn't laugh. Maybe they wouldn't like me if they knew that I was gay."

During that April 30, 1997 episode of "The Ellen Show" -- called "The Puppy Episode" -- DeGeneres sat across from her psychiatrist, played by Oprah Winfrey.

"It's not like I'm looking for perfection," DeGeneres' character said. "I just want to find somebody special, somebody that I click with."

"Has there ever been anyone you felt you clicked with?" Winfrey's character asked. "What was his name?"

"Susan," she replied. Laughter and applause followed.

Advertisers such as JCPenney and Chrysler, though, decided not to buy airtime during the episode. Wendy's decided not to advertise on "The Ellen Show" at all.

A lot has changed since the day that show first aired.

JCPenney has tapped DeGeneres as its spokeswoman and supported its decision even when One Million Moms, a "pro-family advocacy" group, threatened to boycott the national retail chain for refusing to fire her.

In 1996, a Gallup poll showed that the public approval rating for gay marriage was 27 percent. It is more than 50 percent today.

And there are now 34 shows featuring gay characters in leading and supporting roles -- not including reality TV -- compared to only 11 shows in 1997.

In the "20/20" interview, DeGeneres said she was willing to risk people knowing.

"I decided this was not going to be something that I was going to live the rest of my life being ashamed of," she said.

She said she came out on the show for the teenagers who contemplate suicide when they realize they're gay -- and for the young, confused girl she once was.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Beyonce on Why She Won't Reveal Due Date: 'It's Safety'

Jemal Countess/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Though various reports have put Beyonce's due date at somewhere between this month and February, the star herself isn't saying -- and it's a conscious decision on her part.  Speaking to ABC's Katie Couric for Friday's edition of 20/20, Beyonce explains, "The truth is, it's safety.  I just want to make sure I can have a peaceful day.  And I want to make sure my child is protected."  She also refuses to reveal the baby's sex, and won't express a preference either, telling Couric, "I don't care...I'm just like everyone else.  And now I know why people say that, it's true.  I just want [a healthy baby]."

Beyonce also discusses her decision to announce her pregnancy on stage on the MTV Video Music Awards back in August by unbuttoning her jacket and rubbing her belly.  "Physically I was starting to show, so it was only a matter of days before someone zoomed in," she explains.  "So I just wanted it to be from me...and I didn't want to release a picture or a statement.  I figured the biggest statement was to -- just be."  Beyonce adds that she felt "free" after the big reveal, and adds, "I went straight off the stage and just cried.  I hugged my mom, I hugged [my husband] Jay[-Z] and just cried.  It was a beautiful day."

Overall, Beyonce says that her baby's arrival "just can't come fast enough," and she says even though everyone tells her to enjoy the time she has before all those sleepless nights, "I'm still anxious.  I just want to hold the baby!"  After that, Beyonce says, she'll have to take some time off to regain her fierce bod.  "I'm not looking forward to that, because I've been having a good time!" she laughs.

Watch the entire interview Friday on ABC's 20/20 at 10 p.m. ET.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


'Catfish' Makers Hooked into Hollywood

Jim Spellman/WireImage/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- More than a year since the documentary-thriller "Catfish" made a splash at the Sundance Film Festival, the New York hipsters behind the film have found themselves neck-deep in Hollywood.

Nev Schulman -- the handsome New York photographer whose twisted, shocking online romance is painstakingly chronicled by the film -- told "20/20" he's been "very busy with a couple of different projects." Schulman said he spent last June filming a pilot for an upcoming reality TV show he will be hosting for MTV about social networking and online dating.

He said he is also working for an organization called Our Time to develop a social identity and campaigns for the "Y" generation. In his spare time, Schulman has created several short films for his Facebook page.

Schulman's fellow "Catfish" filmmakers, brother Ariel "Rel" Schulman and friend Henry Joost were hired to direct “Paranormal Activity 3,” which will premiere in theaters Oct. 21. The horror movie is presented in a documentary-style and at times embraces the home video techniques used in "Catfish."

BBut it hasn't been all smooth sailing for Ariel Schulman and Joost. Last December, Threshold Media Corp. filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court against the young filmmakers, distributors Universal and Relativity Media for allegedly refusing to pay licensing fees for a song featured in the film. "All Downhill From Here" by singer-songwriter Amy Kuney appears once in a pivotal scene and is then played in its entirety during the closing credits. More recently, another copyright lawsuit -- related to a different song featured in the film -- was reportedly filed in the U.K.

The producers of "Catfish" claim that it was "fair use" of the Kuney song copyright because it is in the context of a real-life documentary. The plaintiffs, meanwhile, have contended that the film is a work of fiction and fair use doesn't apply. If the lawsuit makes it to court, questions about whether "Catfish" is an authentic documentary -- an issue that has dogged the film since its initial release -- may be resolved.

The two women thrust into the spotlight by "Catfish" have also seen their lives change.

Angela Wesselman -- who now goes by Angela Pierce -- struggled to find support for her art until she posed as an 8-year-old named Abby and her fictional older sister "Megan," the online persona that sparked Schulman's infatuation. Pierce has since developed a growing group of admirers with over 3,000 fans of her Facebook art page. One fan commented, "I can't help feeling glad that I've been able to find your art on [Facebook] after seeing the film you were in."

Aimee Gonzales, the model whose image was used by Pierce to disguise her identity, has embraced her alter-ego "Megan" and now has more than 4,900 friends on Facebook in part because her profile appears in all searches for "Megan Faccio." Gonzales has continued to pursue her modeling career with Model Mayhem, established her own photography company, and works as a bartender at Tiger Bar in Portland, Ore. She is also raising her two children. Gonzales touts her role in the controversial film on her various websites and "highly recommends" the film.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Elton John to Talk Baby with Barbara Walters

ABC/Ida Mae Astute(NEW YORK) -- In his first major U.S. television interview since becoming a dad, Elton John will sit down with Barbara Walters for an exclusive interview set to air on ABC's 20/20 on Friday.

Joined by his partner David Furnish, Elton will talk all about baby Zachary, revealing why he and David wanted a child, how they kept him a secret until after he was born, and how fatherhood has changed them both.

Viewers will also get to see Zachary, who is now four-and-a-half months old.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Charlie Sheen Talks About Goddesses, Sitcom in '20/20' Interview

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Charlie Sheen may be unhappy with his professional life at the moment, but he's more than happy with his love life.  He says he's comfortable living with his 24-year-old girlfriends, graphic designer Natalie Kenly and porn star Rachel Oberlin, a.k.a. Bree Olson.

In an interview with ABC's 20/20 that aired Tuesday night, Sheen told interviewer Andrea Canning, "You've read about the goddesses, come on.  They're an international sensation.  These are my girlfriends.  These are the women that I love that have completed the three parts of my heart."

Kenly chimed in, "It seems crazy to everybody else, but for us it works."

Sheen isn't interested in marrying either woman.  The actor, who's been married three times, said he doesn't want to go "Oh for 4."  He joked, "It's a polygamy story.  All my guy friends are gonna, like, throw tomatoes at me.  It's like an organic union of the hearts."

The women help take care of Sheen's nearly two-year-old twin boys, whose mother is his estranged wife Brooke Mueller.  The 45-year-old actor says he's not worried how the kids may one day perceive their daddy's unusual lifestyle.

He said, "I'm not gonna worry about it, or I can say, 'Hey, kids, your dad's a rock star.  Look at his experiences.  Look at what he survived.'  Bang.  There are some of your lessons, but the real lessons are gonna be in the future."

Of course, not everything is rosy in Sheen's life, what with the shutdown of his CBS sitcom, Two and a Half Men, and his feud with series creator Chuck Lorre.  He says they have never gotten along, calling their interactions a "fake friendship."  However, he wouldn't rule out working with Lorre again, should the show resume production.

He said, "I'm not gonna get violent on the guy.  I'm not stupid.  I go to jail, I lose all my power."

Sheen also voiced his displeasure with his father Martin Sheen's recent comments equating his son's addiction with cancer.  Charlie Sheen said, "He has no right to do that.  That's judgment.  And I have no interest in that.  I don't care if it's my dad or a guy on the street or someone who like fell out of the sky."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Charlie Sheen to Tell His Side of the Story on ABC's '20/20'

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- In the wake of CBS' decision to shut down production of his hit sitcom Two and a Half Men for the rest of the season, Charlie Sheen will make an appearance on ABC's 20/20 Tuesday night at 10:00 p.m. Eastern time.

Included in the interview are Sheen's comments regarding the inflammatory statements he made last week about Two and a Half Men's creator, Chuck Lorre.

In the interview, which will be previewed on Good Morning America on Monday and Tuesday, Sheen also insists to ABC's Andrea Canning that he is sober, saying, "I am on a drug, it's called Charlie Sheen."  He further proclaims, "I have one speed, one gear: go!"

Sheen also tells Canning he will return to the Two and a Half Men set in the near future, even though CBS has suspended production on the show.  TV Guide's Stephen Battaglio says Sheen will be all alone on the set if he does go back to work this week.

As for Sheen's recent behavior, Battaglio says, "This will go down as one of the greatest meltdowns in all of primetime television."

In addition to his appearance on 20/20 on Tuesday, Sheen is also scheduled to appear on NBC's Today show on Monday.  According to a Today show tweet that was sent Sunday, Sheen will "demand a personal apology from [the] Two and a Half Men producer and CBS."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Lindsay Lohan's Mom: Lindsay Faces 'Lifelong Struggle'

Photo Courtesy - AL SEIB/AFP/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Despite her most recent stint in rehab, starlet Lindsay Lohan still faces "a lifelong struggle with addiction," said her mother, Dina Lohan.

"I believe [that Lindsay doesn't drink anymore], and I think it's gonna be a lifelong struggle with addiction. But I think she's gonna be okay," Dina Lohan told ABC News in a 20/20 interview set to air Friday at 10 p.m. ET.

She was once the most promising child star in America, but at just 24 years old, Lindsay has become the poster child for Hollywood vice, known more for mug shots than movies.

Most recently, the tabloid microscope zoomed in on a jewelry store in Los Angeles, where security cameras captured Lindsay walking out with an expensive necklace on Jan. 22.

Now, Lindsay Lohan faces charges of felony grand theft. But she and Dina both insist it's all a simple misunderstanding.

Dina Lohan said she could "absolutely not" imagine her daughter being a thief.

"I never thought it would be this -- the media would be so crazy. I really never thought it would get to this level," said Dina Lohan. "It's been really hard on my family, harder than anything."

Just two months ago, Lindsay completed her fifth stint in rehab. Her time at the Betty Ford Center was scarred by an alleged violent argument with a staffer that Dina says was blown out of proportion. Dina Lohan says Lindsay has now emerged, finally, as a woman on the mend.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio