Greyson Chance lifts lid on Ellen DeGeneres' 'manipulative, controlling' behaviour

By Betty Cruise September 23, 2022
Ellen DeGeneres gave Greyson Chance a ticket to stardom, but one that became troubling for him

Ellen DeGeneres was slapped with fiery accusation by her former protégée Greyson Chance who dubbed the comedian "manipulative, self-centered and blatantly opportunistic".

In an explosive interview with Rolling Stone, the now 25-year-old spoke how his life and career changed when a video of him performing Lady Gaga's Paparazzi went viral when he was just 12 and landed him an invitation on the now-defunct talk show The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

"We just couldn't believe what was happening," he told the magazine. "We were so unsure of what we were getting into, and the person that helped cure all of that skepticism and chaotic energy was Ellen."

Following their meeting Chance claimed that DeGeneres said, "I’m going to protect you. I’m going to be here for you. We’re going to do this together."

She went on to co-create a record label, eleveneleven, and signed Chance as her first act, and giving him his team of high-profile managers, a booking agent, a publicist and a brand agent.

Following the release of Chance’s mini EP in October 2010, his touring schedule became more condensed and claimed that the comedian "became domineering and way too controlling."

"My whole week, my whole month, my whole year could change [with] one text message from her. That was horrible," he alleged, adding that only DeGeneres’ opinions mattered.

Chance elaborated that DeGeneres’ behaviour was also visible in other moments.

"She would come in and look at a rack, yell at stylists, berate people in front of me and say, 'This is what you're wearing on the show,'" he claimed. "She was just degrading to people."

Later in 2012, Chance's career did not seem to take off as album and ticket sales dropped.

He was later dropped by his label and claimed that the comedian "completely and abandoned" him.

Despite their deal ending, he still made appearances on Ellen, knowing the positive impact it would have on his career, despite labeling it "a place of active trauma".

"Whenever I would come on the show, it was such a fake smile. She wouldn't even ask, 'How are you doing? How are you holding up?' It was just like, 'Here's what we're going to talk about. We'll see you on there,'" he claimed. However on stage DeGeneres would say things like, "I'm just so proud of you."

He also recalled a particularly awkward appearance in 2019, where Chance claimed DeGeneres "hugged" him during soundcheck.

"And she said, 'How have you been?' And that just killed me inside because I was like, 'What do you mean how have I f–king been? Where have you been?'"

He also recalled a particular appearance in 2019 where DeGeneras claimed how she was "so proud" of the singer coming out as gay.

The moment to Chance felt "cheap" as he said, "She had nothing to do with that. … [When I came out,] I hadn't spoken to her in year." 

"That’s so messed up, that you're now showing the world as if we're so tight, we're so good. And behind the scenes, you are this insanely manipulative person."

He added, "When I look at the interviews and I look at my eyes, I can see so much anxiety. I can just see so much PTSD because I’m there holding on for dear life going, 'I need this TV gig.' I was 100 percent faking it, and [I felt like] she [was] 100 percent faking it with me, too."

Despite being given multiple invitations and, including the final two weeks of her show with peak viewership, Chance never went back.

"The first part of my career, I owe a lot of thanks to her and to that team," he said. 

"But the reason why I’m here today talking about an album, I owe f–king nothing to her because I was the one that had to pull myself up. She was nowhere to be found."

He shared that instead of the comedian, his idol Lady Gaga was the one to give him guidance.

"She has been there for me in the ways that Ellen never was."