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Ellen DeGeneres is nothing if not grateful.
From her Emmy-winning talk show, to ED by Ellen — her line of clothing, accessories and home goods — the Finding Dory star is the first to admit her life is blessed. “I’m grateful for everything. I’m grateful for my health, and I’m so grateful for the love in my life,” she tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story. “Because not everybody finds that. Not everybody finds that best friend.”
Having married actress Portia de Rossi in 2008, DeGeneres, 58, insists she has learned to never take their relationship for granted. “Portia and I constantly say to each other, ‘We are so lucky.’ Sometimes it’s lying in bed at night before I go to sleep, and I just say thank you to whatever, whoever is out there,” she says. “I’ve gotten to a place where I really am just settled. Really. I know that I’m not going anywhere. She’s not going anywhere. I’m not saying the relationship took a while; I’m saying in my life, it took a while to find this.”
When it comes to love, “you get what you give,” DeGeneres adds. “I think you can’t expect someone to treat you a certain way. Whatever it is, if you’re getting a lot of negative energy or anger, you have to say, ‘Why am I getting this? Am I doing something to create it?’ And if the answer is honestly no, then get out of that situation.”
Now living in L.A. with their three dogs and three cats, the couple have always strived to put their marriage first despite their busy careers. “Our priorities are each other too,” she says. “If we had kids, then I’m sure they would be, but we are. And that’s important.”
DeGeneres defines family as “people who get you. I think the word ‘love’ is thrown around, like, ‘I love you’ is great to hear, but you want to feel it,” she says. “You want to feel that you’re understood, and they know exactly who you are, and they know how to take care of you. That, to me, is family. I don’t think it has anything to do with blood relation. Family for everyone is different.”
So what’s the best part about being married? “There’s no best part. It’s everything,” DeGeneres adds. “I can’t imagine not being married. I have my best friend, the person I want to spend time with more than anybody else in the world.”