Born Amanda Lee Rogers on January 31, 1973, in Geelong, Victoria, Australia, Portia de Rossi changed her name at the age of 15. Her career in entertainment started as a child model and after graduating high school she went on to study law at the University of Melbourne. Although a good student, she dropped out of college in 1993 to pursue a career as an actor. She is most noted for her roles on the television series Ally McBeal and Arrested Development.
In 1993, de Rossi received attention from a director who had seen her in a commercial and subsequently cast her in the Australian film Sirens with Hugh Grant. Afterwards, she moved to Los Angeles where she married filmmaker Met Metcalfe in 1996. They divorced two years later and de Rossi has publicly stated that the marriage was planned so that she could receive a green card but could no go through with it any longer "because it just wasn't right".
She landed a role in Scream 2 in 1997 to rave reviews and quickly landed a role in the television series Ally McBeal in 1998 as ice queen, Nelle Porter. Other projects include Girl in 1998, Stigmata in 1999, The Invisibles in 1999 and her role as Lindsay Bluth Funke from 2003-2006 on the Emmy award-winning Arrested Development.
After several years of hiding her sexuality due to fears of it affecting her career, de Rossi became openly lesbian shortly after meeting Ellen DeGeneres in 2004. In 2008, de Rossi and DeGeneres married in their home in California among friends and family.
After almost two decades in the entertainment industry, de Rossi is finally starting to receive recognition for her work rather than her looks. She is currently filming the Arrested Development movie and has a television series in the works with DeGeneres as executive producer. In 2010, de Rossi legally changed her name to Portia Lee James DeGeneres and she became a U.S. citizen in September 2011.