Ellen DeGeneres cemented her role in pop culture history when she came out as gay on her television series, “Ellen,” and on the cover of Time magazine in 1997. But that precedent could have been set 22 years earlier by actress Lily Tomlin.
Appearing on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” Tuesday with her longtime pal and frequent co-star Jane Fonda, Tomlin explained why she decided to turn down Time magazine’s offer of a cover story in 1975 in which she would open up about her sexuality.
“It was a hard decision to make, so I fell down on the side of … probably good sense,” she said. “So I decided that I just wasn’t going to play their game.”
Fortunately, all worked out in the end for Tomlin, who married Jane Wagner in 2013 after more than 40 years together. As for that Time cover, it ended up going to a queer military veteran.
“I wanted to be acknowledged for my performance,” she said.
Fonda and Tomlin didn’t hold back when it came to discussing their smash Netflix series, “Grace and Frankie,” recently been picked for a sixth season.
The pair recalled some of the show’s saucier plot lines, including the time Frankie created an organic yam vaginal lube, which Grace mistook for a breakfast condiment.
That episode, Tomlin said, taught viewers a valuable lesson.
“Don’t put anything there that you wouldn’t put in your mouth,” she quipped.