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Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey Bond Over Mudslides During FaceTime
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12 Jan 2018 12:26 PM EST

-by Laura Tucker, Staff Writer; Image: Ellen DeGeneres speaks with Oprah Winfrey over FaceTime (Image Source: Screenshot)

Californians just can't seem to catch a break. First, they were dealing with devastating wildfires, and now they're dealing with the Montecito mudslides.

Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey were bonding over their shared tragedy.

The talk show host and former talk show host are neighbors in Santa Barbara County that has been hit by the destructive mudslides, in which 17 people have died so far and more are feared once the missing persons cases are settled.

DeGeneres discussed the mudslides on her show that aired Thursday and how it affected her and her wife Portia de Rossi, forcing them to evacuate their home.

"This room is always so full of positivity and love, and today I really need it," DeGeneres emotionally pleaded to her audience. "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. Today, I need you because there's a lot going on in my life right now."

"One of the things that I want to talk about is, you know, we've had these terrible fires all over California, and one of the hardest hit areas is where I live in Montecito. We have had mandatory evacuations," she explained. "So we were just able to get back into our house on December 27, and I got back over the holidays, and I just drove around. I love that community so much. There were just signs everywhere that said thank you and grateful just everywhere, saying thank you to the firefighters and first responders. And it made me so proud to live there. I just love this place."

"We were expecting rain this week, and usually we're grateful for rain, especially in California, but not after the largest fire in the history of California," she continued. "Sunday night, Portia and I got a call that we're under mandatory evacuation again with most of the community of Montecito."

"So again we evacuated because they feared mudslides. After everything we've been through, I think a lot of people thought they were just being overly cautious, but exactly what they feared happened. The rain triggered massive mudslides. Massive," she shared, showing a picture of her now mud- and debris-covered street. "I love this community. If you've never been there, Montecito is a small town. It's less than 10,000 people, it has two public schools, family-owned businesses. 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."

"It's not just a wealthy community," DeGeneres promised, "it's filled with a lot of different types of people from all backgrounds. 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."

Not that this backs up her promise that Montecito isn't just filled with wealthy people, but she then Facetimed her neighbor, Oprah, who didn't evacuate and showed everyone what her home now looks like after the mudslide. She had previously shared a video through social media as well.

"Where I am now, which is the east side of my property, I was walking down here, and all of my neighbors' homes are gutted," explained Oprah, who was joined by firefighters. "I'm standing right now, still in a lot of mud, but not as much as yesterday. I walked out back, you know, where we share a fence line, and the neighbors out back, their houses are gone. It's as devastating as can be."

The damage to Oprah's estate was minimal compared to the other homes in the area.

"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 fire and the rain came. Who would've expected we have this devastation again with the mudslides, and so soon," she questioned.

"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," Oprah said, nearly sounding as presidential as she did at the Golden Globe awards.

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