A self-described former "wild girl," Ellen says "the drugs, the alcohol, the overeating, the bad habits...all of that is what you go through until you say, 'Excuse me, but isn't this a pile of dung I'm in here?' And you start crawling your way out of it and making some decisions to sweeten your life. ... The only thing around you [that] you can possibly change is yourself. So you start there."
"Regret is a negative state and it doesn't help at all," Ellen says. "Anytime I catch myself regretting, I stop it and say, 'That's all part of me.'"
Ellen says acting has allowed her to transform her life's wounds into art. "It's a truth for all of us," she says. "If you do not bring forth what is within you, what is within you will destroy you. To me, that's what an actor does—we bring forth what is within us, and it saves us."
What does Ellen know for sure? "I know that what passes between us is a beautiful and human thing," she says. "I know that connection with another human being is enriching and necessary. I know that friendship is nourishing for the soul."