while portia de rossi is best known as nelle porter in legal drama series ally mcbeal (1998-2002) and being married to comedienne talkshow host icon ellen degeneres (they got hitched in 2008), she’s currently on tv as elizabeth north in season 4 of the fixer (2012-current).
the 41-year-old’s been an american citizen since 2011, but did you know that she was born in australia? portia isn’t even her real name – she was born amanda lee rogers. “portia” comes from shakespeare play the merchant of venice and she wanted “an italian-sounding name to reinvent myself”. she changed her name legally to portia lee james degeneres in 2010. when it comes to social media, portia’s miles behind her wife. ellen’s @theellenshow has posted 9 900odd tweets with 38.4 million followers, while portia’s @portiaderossi has 380-odd tweets and 226 000 followers. why does she feel drawn to legal roles? portia studied law at the university of melbourne but dropped out after being cast in 1993 comedy sirens with hugh grant and fellow aussie elle macpherson – she had to be fully naked. portia hid her sexuality because she worried about being discriminated against. she married documentary director mel metcalfe in 1996 but divorced in 1999, saying that “it obviously wasn’t right for me”. she was outed in 2000 when photos of her and girlfriend francesca gregorini (beatles star ringo starr’s stepdaughter) hit tabloids but they split in 2004 after portia met ellen on the set of ally mcbeal. she revealed her troubled past in her 2010 autobiography unbearable lightness, where the actress explained how ellen saved her from eating disorders. along with ellen, portia’s a big-time philanthropist and helps organisations including locks of love (they donate human-hair wigs to kids with medical conditions that cause them to lose their hair) and animal society ally cat allies.
portia de rossi’s bringing a new look and feel to the