Portia de Rossi is an Australian actress probably best known for her roles on “Ally McBeal” and “Arrested Development” (which is set to return this weekend).
Her birth name is Amanda Lee Rogers. As a child, she modeled for print and TV commercials. She changed it to Portia when she was 15 and said it was the most daring thing she’d ever done up until that point. Her intent was to reinvent herself using the name of Portia, a character from William Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice.” She said, “I thought it was important to be independent of my family.”
Portia de Rossi’s first role was “Sirens,” starring Hugh Grant. Soon after, she moved to Los Angeles. Her other roles include “Scream 2,” “Stigmata,” “The Invisibles,” “Better Off Ted” and “Nip/Tuck.”
In 2003, Stuff ranked her 69 in its 100 Sexiest Women. Maxim ranked her 24 in its list in 2004.
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Portia was married from 1996-1999 to Mel Metcalfe in what she said was a plan to get a green card, but she didn’t go through with it. As a young actress, she said, she was scared of being outed as a lesbian.
In 2005, Portia de Rossi came out publicly in interviews with The Advocate and Details magazine.
In 2010, she published her autobiography “Unbearable Lightness” which included her battles with anorexia. She revealed that at the height of her eating disorder, she consumed just “300 calories…a day.”
Portia de Rossi recently shopped a TV show called “Butch and Fay” about two homosexual actors who marry each other to appear straight for the sake of their careers, but TV execs thought that being gay was no longer an issue (refinery29.com). She added, “I’ve been very specific with my career. I really love acting, but it’s important to me to be part of really interesting projects.”
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After turning 40, she said she doesn’t want to “chase what I looked like at 20.” Of the return of “Arrested Development,” she said, “Because it’s on Netflix, we didn’t really feel the presence of a studio or a network. It felt like an independent feature, very creative and loose.”
Portia is currently married to Ellen DeGeneres. Portia has legally taken Ellen’s last name, so Portia’s full name is now Portia Lee James DeGeneres.
As to having children, Portia said, “You have to really want to have kids, and neither of us did. So it’s just going to be me and Ellen and no babies – but we’re the best of friends and married life is blissful, it really is.”
They live in Beverly Hills, but have recently put their house up for sale as “the tour buses are killing them.”