After mudslides caused major destruction to Montecito, with at least 17 deaths reported in the area, and specifically to Ellen DeGeneres' neighborhood, the daytime host took a moment during her Thursday show to FaceTime with neighbor Oprah Winfrey as they shared emotional post-disaster updates.
Connecting via FaceTime, Winfrey shared the gruesome devastation the mudslide inflicted on her home, also mentioning that her neighbors' homes are "gutted." "It's devastating. We've lost so many lives and it's a tiny community and nobody would've expected, certainly I did not, that after we survived the fires and the rain came, who would've expected we would have had this devastation again with the mudslides, and so soon," Winfrey said.
"But we're going to do what we do. We're going to come together and we're going to do what great Americans do all the time. We're going to help each other. We're going to help each other out wherever needed," she shared about how to move forward from the natural disaster.
The recent Cecil B. DeMille Award recipient ran across a firefighter while on FaceTime and began questioning him about updates on those affected and the relief efforts taking place. Winfrey also revealed that while she didn't need to evacuate from her home, she was told that she wouldn't have running water or gas. She also assured that she feels "safe" despite the circumstances.
Earlier in the show, DeGeneres grew visibly emotional while discussing the devastation in her community, revealing that she and wife Portia de Rossi were forced to evacuate. The couple had to previously evacuate during the California wildfires.
"This room is always so full of positivity and love and today I really need it. So many times over the past 15 years, people have come up to me and say to me that when they're going through a tough time, this show helps them through it," DeGeneres told her audience. "Today, I need you because there's a lot going on in my life right now."
The daytime host then said that while the couple believed that evacuations were just cautionary, the impact of the mudslide proved to be more devastating than they would've believed. "You don't know the power of a mudslide," DeGeneres said.
An emotional DeGeneres expressed her love for her "small-town" community. "I love this community. ... It's less than 10,000 people. … It's a tight-knit community so everyone kind of knows everyone. I work in L.A. but I consider Montecito my home. I live there, Oprah lives there," she said, as she began to fight back tears.
"It's not just a wealthy community, it's filled with a lot of different types of people from all backgrounds," she added. "And there are families missing, there are people who are missing family members. They're finding people and bodies and I mean, you hear the word mudslide and you have no idea the impact that it has, but after the largest fire in California history, it's catastrophic. It is beyond recognizable."
Jeff Bridges also revealed that his home was affected by the mudslide, tweeting Thursday that though their home is “severely damaged,” he and his family are safe.
Our home has been severely damaged, but we are safe, and so thankful for that and for the first responders who are working tirelessly to save people. We are heartbroken over the loss of lives in our community. Your prayers and best wishes are most appreciated.— Jeff Bridges (@TheJeffBridges) January 11, 2018