Ellen DeGeneres celebrates 20-year 'coming out' milestone

"I'm Ellen and I'm gay."

It's been 20 years since that iconic sentence was spoken, and it changed Ellen's career and life forever, and the view of LGBT in Hollywood.

"Twenty years ago I said that — it was a much bigger deal then," Ellen told her audience.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show is devoting a whole episode to celebrate the milestone of "The Puppy Episode," which aired on her Ellen sitcom April 30, 1997. The two-part episode featured Ellen DeGeneres' character, Ellen Morgan, coming out as gay - the first time a lead character "came out".

At the same time, the actress and comedian also announced on the cover of Time magazine with the line: "Yep, I'm Gay."

"The Puppy Episode" was the titled name, and a reference to the studio's initial reaction to the idea Ellen's character was revealed to be a lesbian, and an executive's suggested response her character get a dog instead of a relationship.

"At the time, it was so controversial," she said of the episode. "Which is why I thought this was important to celebrate the anniversary and to remember what it was like back then and to appreciate how far we've come."

Watch Oprah Winfrey and former Ellen co-star Laura Dern talk about the milestone episode with Ellen in a sneak peek episode of her latest show.