Ellen DeGeneres breaks down while discussing Kobe Bryant on her show

Ellen DeGeneres breaks down while discussing the loss of her friend Kobe Bryant during the opening of her show: ‘Celebrate life. And if you haven’t told someone you love them, do it now.’

  • DeGeneres celebrated her 62nd birthday on Sunday, the same day her friend and previous guest Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash in Southern California
  • During the opening monologue to the show she taped on Monday, she explained to viewers that when she heard the sad news, ‘everything changed in a second’
  • Tearing up, Ellen went on to remind viewers that ‘life is short, and it’s fragile, and we don’t know how many birthdays we have’
  • Bryant appeared on DeGeneres’s show in April of 2016 in his exclusive first interview after retiring from the NBA
  • He also appeared on the show in April of last year, when he discussed his wife and daughters

Ellen DeGeneres gave an emotional speech at the start of her daytime talk show The Ellen DeGeneres show on Monday, which will air as Tuesday’s episode. 

‘Today is Monday, and yesterday was Sunday. It happened to be my birthday and the Grammy Awards. I was nominated, I didn’t win. Not the point,’ Ellen said, clearly struggling to keep it together. 

‘Yesterday was supposed to be a celebratory day, and then we got tragic news about Kobe Bryant, and everything changed in a second. And that’s what I want to talk about.’

Tearing up: Ellen DeGeneres gave an emotional speech in connection with the passing of Kobe Bryant at the start of her daytime talk show The Ellen DeGeneres show taped on Monday

The comedian and television personality explained to viewers that, since the show is taped in advance, the episode that aired on Monday was shot last week — before NBA basketball star Kobe Bryant lost his life at the age of 41 along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others in a helicopter crash on Sunday morning in Calabasas, California. 

With mounting emotion, Ellen continued to say that ‘life is short, and it’s fragile, and we don’t know how many birthdays we have. So just– you don’t have to have a birthday to celebrate, just celebrate life. And if you haven’t told someone you love them, do it now. Do it. Tell people you love them. Call your friends. Text your friends. Hug them. Kiss them.

‘Be nice to people at the DMV. They’re people. Be nice to them,’ she added on a slightly lighter note, referencing her absence last week when she had to go to the DMV herself.

Heartbroken: ‘Yesterday was supposed to be a celebratory day, and then we got tragic news about Kobe Bryant, and everything changed in a second. And that’s what I want to talk about’


With mounting emotion: Ellen continued to say that ‘life is short, and it’s fragile, and we don’t know how many birthdays we have. So just– you don’t have to have a birthday to celebrate, just celebrate life’

Later in the show: Ellen revisited Kobe later in the show, discussing the basketball star’s legacy

Kobe’s helicopter went down amid uncharacteristically foggy conditions about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles on Sunday morning, killing all nine people on board.

Ara Zobayan, 50, was flying the aircraft when it reportedly plummeted nearly 500 feet in 15 seconds before crashing and killing Kobe, his daughter Gianna, John Altobelli, 56, his wife Keri, and their daughter Alyssa. The crash also killed Payton Chester and her mother Sarah, as well as Christina Mauser.

Kobe’s chopper crashed only 17 miles from its destination, the Mamba Sports Academy, where he and his daughter were scheduled to attend basketball camp.

Tragedy: Bryant’s helicopter went down amid uncharacteristically foggy conditions about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles on Sunday morning, killing all nine people on board

Bryant had been a repeated guest on Ellen’s long-running hit daytime show, giving her his exclusive first interview after famously retiring from the NBA in 2016 as the third-leading scorer in NBA history, finishing two decades with the Lakers as a prolific shot-maker with an unparalleled all-around game and a relentlessly competitive ethic.

He also appeared on Ellen just last April, when, among other things, he discussed his beloved wife Vanessa and their daughters.

At the time, they were still expecting baby Capri, who is now only seven months old.  

Repeat guest: Bryant had been a guest on Ellen’s long-running hit daytime show on multiple occasions, giving her his exclusive first interview after famously retiring from the NBA in 2016

Family man: Kobe also appeared on Ellen just last April, when, among other things, he discussed his beloved wife Vanessa and their daughters

Legendary athlete: Kobe was one of the world’s most popular basketball players and the face of the 16-time NBA champion Lakers

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