Ellen DeGeneres had a different “experience” while working with Greyson Chance after signing him to a record deal as a teenager, a source exclusively tells Us Weekly.
“Ellen and the team went above and beyond and sometimes careers just don’t take off,” the insider tells Us about the 64-year-old comedian’s working relationship with the “Shut Up” singer, 25.
The source adds that Chance “did not make any complaints” during the time that he worked with DeGeneres and her team and continued to appear on The Ellen DeGeneres Show “to launch his new projects” until 2019.
“He has taken this time, as he is launching a [new] album, to go after Ellen with opportunistic claims,” the insider claims.
The response comes just hours after Rolling Stone published an interview with Chance, 25, in which the “Shut Up” singer opened up for the “first” and “last” time about his experience being signed to the Emmy winner’s eleveneleven record label. “I’ve never met someone more manipulative, more self-centered, and more blatantly opportunistic than her,” he told the outlet in an interview published on Thursday, September 22.
Chance was invited on DeGeneres’ eponymous talk show when he was 12 years old after a video of him performing Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” went viral. After gifting him $10,000 and a new piano, she signed the tween to her newly founded label, allegedly promising him and his mother that she would personally guide him on his journey to stardom. However, Chance claims that the comedian soon “became domineering and way too controlling,” and wanted final say on everything from his music to his wardrobe.
“My whole week, my whole month, my whole year could change [with] one text message from her,” the “My Dying Spirit” musician told the outlet. “That was horrible. … If she had an opinion of any sort, the whole thing changed.”
Both Chance and his mother, Lisa, also claimed that the former talk show host once admonished them when he didn’t have time to watch an advance screening of Justin Bieber‘s Never Say Never. “I just remember hearing on the other side of the phone, just yelling [and] beratement,” he recalled, claiming that she told his mom, “‘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?’”
As difficult as it was to deal with the alleged micro-management while working 14-to-16-hour days, Chance said that his relationship with the Finding Nemo voice actress took a turn for the worse once his record sales slipped. “I couldn’t get ahold of her. Couldn’t talk to her,” he recalled to Rolling Stone, adding that he felt DeGeneres “completely abandoned” him after his second album flopped. “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.’”
In 2012, Chance was dropped by his record label and subsequently moved from Los Angeles back to his home state of Oklahoma. Though he continued to make music and still periodically appeared on her talk show, the “Holy Feeling” singer said that the Louisiana native never reached out to him behind the scenes.
Chance claimed that during his final appearance on Ellen in 2019, DeGeneres acted as if nothing happened between them. “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,” he recalled. “When I look at the interviews and I look at my eyes, I can see so much anxiety. … I was 100 percent faking it, and [I felt like] she’s 100 percent faking it with me, too.”
This is not the first time that DeGeneres has been accused of intimidating behavior. In June 2020, several staffers on The Ellen DeGeneres Show claimed that they faced racism, fear and intimidation while working on the show. The TV personality apologized to her staff in an email at the time and addressed the rumors that she fostered a hostile work environment during the season 18 premiere later that year.
“I learned that things happened that never should have happened. I take that very seriously,” the Finding Dory star said on-air at the time. “I want to say I am so sorry to the people who are affected. I know that I am in a position of privilege and power, and I realize that with that comes responsibility. And I take responsibility for what happens at my show. This is The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
DeGeneres’ team did not respond for comment.
With reporting by Diana Cooper