Los Angeles: TV host Ellen DeGeneres says her father and insurance agent Elliott Everett DeGeneres found it a "challenge" to have an "openly gay child" because he was very "overprotective" of her. Ellen announced she was a lesbian in 1997. She says it was not easy for her father to deal with her sexuality because he wanted her to have a quiet life and she was the opposite of her "sassy" mother Betty DeGeneres, reports femalefirst.co.uk. “My parents divorced when I was young - they were very different personalities. My mother is a strong woman, sarcastic and sassy, and I learnt how to be a tough woman from her,” Ellen told HELLO! magazine. “My dad is a wonderful man but he has a lot of fear and he was overprotective of me. He didn't want me to hurt myself so he wanted me to be nice and quiet all the time and not really argue or speak my opinion. So imagine his challenge of having an openly gay child. “When you're growing up, whatever your environment is, if you don't know any different, that is what it is. I didn't know anything was wrong until I got older and I started doing some soul-searching and read some books. I learnt a lot of lessons the hard way, which is a beautiful way to learn them,” she added. Ellen married actress Portia de Rossi in 2008.