Ellen DeGeneres says she knew deep down it was time to step away from her talk show after 19 seasons on the air ... and she's thankful for one helluva ride.
Ellen got emotional Wednesday as she taped the Thursday episode of her talk show, talking about her big news -- that she's wrapping it up in 2022 -- and explaining, for the first time, what led to her decision.
She said she always knew in her heart the upcoming 19th season would be her last, and she's trusting her instincts as she prepares to walk away. Ellen got a little emotional during the monologue, but, of course, kept it funny too.
Ellen says 19 is a good number to go out on ... pointing out the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote, and making a joke about the periodic table and conversations with herself and her wife, Portia de Rossi.
As a comedian, Ellen says she's always understood the importance of timing ... and the timing is right for her to end what she calls an "amazing chapter" in her life.
She'll get to discuss it even more with Thursday's guests ... Oprah and Pink.
While Ellen's thanking everyone who made the show what it's become, she says "we're gonna continue that relationship when this show ends" and promises the final season will be fantastic, with lots of celebrations and surprises.