"Ellen counters what too often divides us... (she) inspires us to be better, one joke, one dance at a time," Obama said.

Obama awards Ellen DeGeneres highest American civilian honour in an emotional ceremonyScreenshot: ABC News/YouTube
Features Ellen DeGeneres Wednesday, November 23, 2016 - 12:53

American comedian and TV host Ellen DeGeneres had an emotional moment when she was honoured with the Presidential Freedom Award by President Barack Obama on Monday. 

In what was Obama's last Presidential Freedom Award ceremony, 21 individuals, including DeGeneres, were presented the country's highest civilian award for their contribution to the country. 

The TV star could be seen teary eyed as an announcer introduced her before she received the medal. 

Obama spoke about her courage for coming out as gay nearly 20 years ago. . 

"It’s easy to forget now, when we’ve come so far, where now marriage is equal under the law. Just how much courage was required for Ellen to come out on the most public of stages almost 20 years ago," he said. 

"What an incredible burden that was to bear. To risk your career like that, people don't do that very often. And then to have the hopes of millions on your shoulders," he added.

The POTUS also cracked a joke during his speech to break the mood because he said he "was getting kind of choked up".

"Ellen counters what too often divides us, with the countless things that bind us together, inspires us to be better, one joke, one dance at a time," he said as the audience broke into an applause. 

Some of the other recipients of the award include Robert De Niro, Bill and Melinda Gates, Tom Hanks, Diana Ross, and Bruce Springsteen.

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