Greyson Chance is speaking out on what he calls "manipulative," "self-centered," and "opportunistic" behavior from Ellen DeGeneres, the woman who promised to help launch his career as a child star.
Now 25, the piano prodigy turned pop singer-songwriter got his first big break when he was just 12 years old. When the sixth grader sang Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi" in front of his schoolmates in 2010, he had no idea a video of the performance would go viral, and he had no idea that he'd be meeting Ellen DeGeneres just about a week later.
But according to a new interview with Rolling Stone, Chance felt that Ellen was offering to provide stability and guidance as a guardian and mentor to the young rising star and his mother, who had no idea how to act in the world of show business.
After flying Chance to LA to appear on her show, DeGeneres bought him a new piano and co-created a record label to launch his music career. However, things quickly turned sour.
Chance says that DeGeneres became a "hidden eye," watching over every detail of his career and life.
"My whole week, my whole month, my whole year could change [with] one text message from her," Chance said. "That was horrible." He added that "if she had an opinion of any sort, the whole thing changed."
He says that DeGeneres was controlling over his touring and recording schedules, what he watched, and even what he wore. "She would come in and look at a rack, yell at stylists, berate people in front of me and say, 'This is what you're wearing on the show,'" Chance remembers. "She was just degrading to people."
But all of that changed once Chance's career started to take a downward turn. When his second record on DeGeneres' label underperformed, Chance says that DeGeneres completely dropped him, and when he did appear on her show, she barely talked to him at all.
"I couldn't get a hold of her. Couldn't talk to her," he told the magazine. "Whenever I would come on the show, it was such a fake smile. She wouldn't even ask, 'How are you doing? How are you holding up?' It was just like, 'Here's what we're going to talk about. We'll see you on there.'"
When Chance returned to the Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2019, he felt once again used by his former mentor. In the interview, she stated how proud she was of Chance for coming out as gay two years earlier.
"She had nothing to do with that. ... [When I came out,] I hadn't spoken to her in years," Chance says. "That's so messed up, that you're now showing the world as if we're so tight. We're so good. And behind the scenes, you are this insanely manipulative person."
"When I look at the interviews and I look at my eyes, I can see so much anxiety. I can just see so much PTSD because I'm there holding on for dear life going, 'I need this TV gig,'" Chance added. "I was 100 percent faking it, and [I felt like] she's 100 percent faking it with me, too."
After that, Chance vowed to never be on her show again. That vow became tested when her show reached out to offer him a prime spot on one of the final episodes of the show.
"I couldn't do that," he said. "So I turned down a national-TV gig on the eve of an album release, which is probably not a smart thing to do, but I had to do it for my integrity."
Greyson Chance recently released the album Palladium, which is receiving career-high praise from critics.
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