Greyson Chance is speaking out about his experience with former mentor Ellen DeGeneres.
As viewers may remember, the singer became an overnight sensation back in 2010 when a video of his performance of Lady GaGa’s Paparazzi went viral online. The clip soon caught the attention of Ellen, who invited the then-12-year-old onto The Ellen DeGeneres Show, later signed him to her eleveneleven, and connected him with managers Troy Carter and Guy Oseary, a booking agent at WME, AND publicists. While many people would have assumed this would be a dream come true for a young artist like Greyson, it actually turned out to be a nightmare for him.
In a new interview with Rolling Stone published on Thursday, the 25-year-old opened up about his relationship with Ellen for the first time, claiming she had been an “insanely manipulative” person behind the scenes for most of his career. Greyson told the outlet:
“I’ve never met someone more manipulative, more self-centered and more blatantly opportunistic than her.”
Related: Rosie O’Donnell Explains Her Longtime Feud With Ellen
The musician claims once Ellen took hold of his career, she became almost like a “hidden eye” and often “became domineering and way too controlling” about everything from his image to ditching entire performances when she didn’t approve:
“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.’ She was just degrading to people.”
On one occasion, Greyson remembered Ellen requesting an advanced copy of Justin Bieber’s 2011 documentary Never Say Never for him to watch. But since he had been exhausted from his long working days, he didn’t have the energy to view it at the time. Needless to say, she apparently felt disrespected by this. He alleges the daytime talk show host even went so far as to call his mother to berate her over the phone:
“I’ll never forget this. I just remember hearing on the other side of the phone, just yelling [and] beratement: ‘What type of mother are you? Do you realize that I went out of my way to get this for you, and he can’t sit down and watch it?’”
According to him, things quickly continued to go downhill from there. When his 2012 album Truth Be Told, Part 1 tanked, Greyson says Ellen became distant and “completely abandoned” him – leading his label and team assembled by the 64-year-old to also drop him. While he was still invited to appear on The Ellen DeGeneres show during that time, his experience left him feeling like his presence was wanted by Ellen:
“I couldn’t get ahold of her. Couldn’t talk to her. 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.’”
Greyson wound up retiring from music before returning once again in 2019 to release his album Portraits. With the success from the record, he also returned to The Ellen Show to perform, but their interactions apparently remained awkward. Greyson told Rolling Stone it perplexed him how calm she had been despite their past, and he apparently didn’t buy the praise she gave him for coming out. Perceiving the moment as “cheap,” he said:
“She came out during soundcheck and she looked at me, hugged me” … “And she said, ‘How have you been?’ And that just killed me inside because I was like, ‘What do you mean how have I f**king been? Where have you been?”
While she may have been trying to move forward and repair past rifts, he felt something different:
“[When I came out,] I hadn’t spoken to her in years… 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.”
After that appearance, Greyson swore to never return to the show. And when they later reached out to have him come on as a guest during its final two weeks this March, he turned it down in order to protect his own “integrity.”
As for how his mom feels? Lisa told the mag:
“I think that Ellen is a businesswoman. And if something isn’t trending the way she wants it to, she’s going to put an end to it because it’s business for her. It’s not warm and fuzzy. I don’t think she invited people to be a part of her life or take someone under their wing like she did if she didn’t want to see something come of it. If it wasn’t moving fast enough for her, that’s when she started to shut down or shut us out.”
Ellen has not yet responded to these allegations, but a source close to the talk show team told People she “went above and beyond to help set him up for success, but in business that doesn’t always work out, and his career did not take off.”
Of course, this is just the latest claim against Ellen after she was accused of creating a toxic work environment on the show… not to mention what’s come to light about Anne Heche‘s feelings regarding their relationship…
Thoughts, Perezcious readers? Let us know in the comments below. You can also check out his entire interview with Rolling Stone HERE.
[Image via TheEllenShow/YouTube, Greyson Chance/YouTube]