Born: January 31, 1973
Birthplace: Horsham, Victoria, Australia
Portia Lee James DeGeneres (born Amanda Lee Rogers; January 31, 1973), also known professionally as Portia de Rossi (/ˈpɔərʃə də ˈrɒsi/), is an Australian-American actress, model, and philanthropist. She currently appears as a regular cast member on the American political thriller television series Scandal in the role of Elizabeth North, the Vice President's Chief of Staff. She is also known for her roles as lawyer Nelle Porter on the American television series Ally McBeal—for which she won a Screen Actors Guild Award in 1999—and as Lindsay Fünke on the American television sitcom Arrested Development. She also portrayed Veronica Palmer on the ABC television sitcom Better Off Ted, and as Olivia Lord on the television drama Nip/Tuck. De Rossi is married to comedian and television host Ellen DeGeneres.
De Rossi, born Amanda Lee Rogers in Horsham, Victoria, Australia, is the daughter of Margaret, a medical receptionist, and Barry Rogers. Her father died when she was nine years old. She grew up in Grovedale, a suburb of Geelong, Victoria, and modelled for print and TV commercials as a child. In 1988, at the age of 15, Rogers adopted the name Portia de Rossi, by which she remains best known. In 2005, she explained that she had intended to reinvent herself, using the given name of Portia, a character from William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, and an Italian last name. She was educated at Melbourne Girls Grammar School and the University of Melbourne, where she studied law.
She has admitted, in an interview she gave to the Daily Mail, to having struggled with anorexia nervosa throughout her teens and young adulthood, from which she credits the love of Ellen DeGeneres and her intensive treatment for having saved her.
Her first significant role was playing a young and impressionable model in the Australian 1994 film Sirens. Soon afterwards she moved to Los Angeles, and won guest roles on several TV shows, and a permanent role in Nick Freno: Licensed Teacher, before landing a part in the film Scream 2. During this time in the United States, de Rossi worked diligently to replace her Australian accent with her current American one.
She garnered international attention when she joined the main cast of Ally McBeal in 1998, playing lawyer Nelle Porter. She remained with the show until its end in 2002. In 2001, she starred in Who Is Cletis Tout? with Christian Slater. From 2003-06, de Rossi starred as Lindsay Bluth Fünke on Fox Television's Arrested Development. She portrayed John F. Kennedy, Jr.'s wife, Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, in the made-for-TV movie America's Prince: The John F. Kennedy Jr. Story in 2003 and an Australian reporter who inspires a protest against Frank Sinatra during a concert tour in The Night We Called It a Day, also in 2003.
In 2005 she portrayed a fortune-teller named Zela in the Wes Craven thriller Cursed. From 2007-2008, de Rossi appeared in Nip/Tuck's fifth season as Julia McNamara's girlfriend, Olivia Lord.
In 2009 and 2010, de Rossi played the high-strung and controlling Veronica Palmer on the ABC show Better Off Ted. In 2011 she appeared in Better Off Ted cast member Malcolm Barrett's music video for "Revenge of the Nerds", spoofing her character Veronica in a cameo (alongside other cast members of the cancelled series).
She ranked 69th in Stuff's 100 Sexiest Women, 31 in Femme Fatales' Sexiest Women of 2003 list, 24 in Maxim's 100 Sexiest Women List in 2004, and in late 2006, the magazine Blender listed her as one of the hottest women of film and TV. In May 2007, she was featured as one of 100 Most Beautiful in a People special edition. TV Guide included her and Ellen DeGeneres in their Power A-List couples in 2007.
In February 2012, it was announced that ABC had ordered a pilot for a new drama series The Smart One, executive produced by Ellen DeGeneres, and featured de Rossi in a leading role. The actress was to star as a "brilliant and successful woman who begrudgingly goes to work for her less-brainy but more popular sister - a former beauty queen, weather girl and now big-city Mayor." The show was not picked up to series for the 2012-13 season.
Six years after the series was canceled by Fox, filming for a revived fourth season of Arrested Development began on 7 August 2012 and de Rossi reprised her role as Lindsay Bluth Fünke. The season consists of 15 new episodes which debuted at the same time on Netflix on 26 May 2013. Each episode focuses on one particular character, with de Rossi's Lindsay featured in Episode 3, "Indian Takers" and Episode 8, "Red Hairing", and also appearing in several other episodes of the season.
In July, 2014, ABC confirmed de Rossi was joining season 4 of Scandal.
De Rossi was married to documentary film-maker Mel Metcalfe, from 1996 to 1999, initially part of a plan to get a green card, though she did not go through with the plan. She said about the marriage that "it just obviously wasn't right for me". In a 2010 interview on Good Morning America, she explained that as a young actress, she was fearful of being exposed as a lesbian.
From 2000 to 2004, de Rossi dated director Francesca Gregorini, the daughter of Barbara Bach and the stepdaughter of Ringo Starr. She said that most of her family and Ally McBeal castmates did not know she was a lesbian until tabloid pictures of the couple were published. She declined to publicly discuss the relationship or her sexual orientation at the time.
De Rossi and Gregorini broke up in late 2004 because de Rossi began dating DeGeneres, whom she met backstage at an awards show. In 2005, she opened up publicly about her sexual orientation in interviews with Details and The Advocate. She and DeGeneres became engaged when DeGeneres proposed with a three-carat diamond ring. They were married at their Beverly Hills home on 16 August 2008, witnessed by their mothers and 17 other guests. On 6 August 2010, Portia filed a petition to legally change her name to Portia Lee James DeGeneres. The petition was granted on 23 September 2010. She became a United States citizen in September 2011.
In 2010, de Rossi published her autobiography Unbearable Lightness which talks about the turmoil that she has experienced in her life, including suffering from anorexia nervosa and bulimia and being misdiagnosed with lupus. She had struggled with the eating disorders for four years while filming Ally McBeal. To promote the book, she appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
In 2013, de Rossi announced that she and DeGeneres were not planning to have children.
De Rossi is a keen equestrian, who competes regularly and credits horses as being hugely therapeutic in her struggle with anorexia. DeGeneres and de Rossi are both vegans and have adopted several rescue animals.
De Rossi supports a variety of charitable organizations, including Locks of Love, a group that provides human hair wigs (made from donated ponytails) either free of charge or on a sliding scale based on their own guidelines for children with alopecia and other medical conditions that cause hair loss.
She has also supported fundraising efforts for FXB International, an African AIDS relief organization, and The Art of Elysium, an art foundation for terminally ill children. An avid animal lover, de Rossi also supports Alley Cat Allies, an organization dedicated to protecting and improving the lives of cats. De Rossi and wife Ellen DeGeneres have also been vegan since 2008, and are strong supporters of the Gentle Barn, a Californian sanctuary for abused animals.
|1995||The Woman in the Moon||Shauna|
|1997||Scream 2||Sorority Sister Murphy|
|2001||Women in Film||Gina|
|2001||Who Is Cletis Tout?||Tess Donnelly|
|2003||Two Girls from Leemore||Blind Woman|
|2003||I Witness||Emily Thompson|
|2003||The Night We Called It a Day||Hilary Hunter|
|2004||Dead & Breakfast||Kelly|
|2009||The Shift||Denise Moore|
|2015||Now Add Honey||Beth Halloway||comedy|
|1995-96||Too Something||Maria Hunter||Main cast
|1996-97||Nick Freno: Licensed Teacher||Elana Lewis||Main cast
|1997||Veronica's Closet||Carolyn||1 episode: "Veronica's First Date"|
|1998||A Breed Apart||Lana Collins||TV Movie|
|1998-2002||Ally McBeal||Nelle Porter||Main cast
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (1999)
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (2000-2001)
|1999||Ally||Nelle Porter||Main cast
Ally McBeal spin-off
|2002||The Glow||Jackie Lawrence||TV Movie|
|2002||The Twilight Zone||Laurel Janus||1 episode: "Dead Man's Eyes"|
|2003||America's Prince: The John F. Kennedy Jr. Story||Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy||TV Movie|
|2003||Mister Sterling||Lauren Barnes||2 episodes: "Wish List" and "Final Passage"|
|2003-2006, 2013||Arrested Development||Lindsay Bluth Fünke||Main cast
TV Land Award for Future Classic (2003)
Satellite Award for Best Actress - Television Series Musical or Comedy (2005)
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Comedy or Musical (2004)
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (2005-2006, 2013)
|2007-09||Nip/Tuck||Olivia Lord||Recurring cast (season 5)
|2009-10||Better Off Ted||Veronica Palmer||Main cast
|2012||Mockingbird Lane||Lily Munster||TV Pilot|
|2014||Sean Saves the World||Jill||1 episode: "The Joy of Ex"|
|2014-present||Scandal||Elizabeth North||Series Regular (Season 4-);|
|2017||Santa Clarita Diet||Dr. Wolf||2 episodes: "The Book!" and "Baka, Bile and Baseball Bats"|
|1999||Screen Actors Guild Award||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series||Ally McBeal||Won|
|2000||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|2001||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|2004||TV Land Award||Future Classic Award||Arrested Development||Won|
|Golden Satellite Award||Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Comedy or Musical||Nominated|
|2005||Best Actress in a Series, Comedy or Musical||Won|
|Screen Actors Guild Award||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|2006||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|2014||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
Portia de Rossi supports the following charitable causes: Health Education, Arts Education, Adoption, AIDS, Education, Underprivileged Children, Poverty, Cancer, Animals, Children.