BY Advocate Contributors
February 08 2010 9:00 AM ET
Even the paparazzi seem to buy into their love story, mostly leaving the two alone. “To think that a married gay couple is considered boring and normal is fantastic,” she says. “Happiness is a choice too. It’s a choice to live in a state of gratitude and to fix what makes you unhappy. Being honest with who you are, being able to go out into the world and show people that you can be successful and be happy and be in a good marriage—it’s important.”
Mostly, they have so far avoided letting their notoriety get the better of them by communicating with each other. “I tell her all my insecurities, all of my worries, and within a few minutes I feel better,” De Rossi says. “She’s just so helpful to me. I think I help her too. I keep her focused on what’s important and what the big picture is. I think that’s what a good couple does for each other.”
Unlike with most other couples, we get to eavesdrop. There are harmless, jokey anecdotes in DeGeneres’s talk-show monologues about how tall De Rossi is, how she sleeps through their cats’ nighttime shenanigans, her mocking retorts every time DeGeneres does something stupid. It’s the daily, easily dismissed fragments of a couple’s life together, significant only because they’re broadcast to a huge cross section of America. De Rossi plans to attend as many American Idol tapings as possible—DeGeneres is now a judge—upping the chances that the show’s enormous audience may also be exposed to DeGeneres’s marital comedy routine.
Despite busy work schedules, they have carved out a surprisingly quiet, domestic life. They spend most weekends on a farm just outside Los Angeles, reading—De Rossi loves Jonathan Safran Foer and Sylvia Plath—gardening, and avoiding the phone.
Both are now vegans, which is a challenge only in that both take the commitment seriously but neither is a particularly good cook. At home in Los Angeles they have a chef, but they try to fend for themselves at the farm.
“I can’t claim to enjoy cooking or be good at it in any way,” De Rossi says. “I usually do the same dish every weekend.” What dish? “Pasta,” she says, again rolling her eyes. But then she zooms in on the real reasons behind their decision: “The more you learn, the harder it is to go back to the way you used to eat—blindly, without knowing what you are putting in your body or how animals are treated.”
As if all that talking still isn’t enough to make up for the years she played a stranger called “Portia de Rossi,” she’s written a book. “I’m writing a book,” she corrects, with a grimace. “It’ll be published in the fall, so…I have to be done with it before then.”
This is the first time she’s talked to a reporter about it. “I wanted to see what kind of book I was writing,” she says. “It will deal with all the secrets that nearly killed me.” Approached by an agent at William Morris to write about eating disorders, De Rossi wasn’t sure she could do it. Nevertheless, she’s writing it from a firsthand perspective without the typical celebrity-assist ghostwriter. “Nobody can really get inside the anorexic’s mind like the anorexic,” she says, referring to her own battles with an eating disorder.
“My mother thought I would be a writer. When I started writing little notes to Ellen, she said, ‘You should be a writer.’ Which is very encouraging and very sweet.” She jotted down a half-dozen anecdotes that her agents shopped around to publishers; within three weeks she had a deal, if not much more idea what she wanted to write.