Tonya Harding was humble and gracious as a guest on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" Monday morning, but she also carried a sadness within her that crept out at one moment in a statement the daytime TV host picked up on.
DeGeneres had invited her to the show after watching the Oscar-nominated biopic "I, Tonya," which explored her life leading up to the whack heard around the world when a hitman cracked Harding's rival Nancy Kerrigan in the leg. One of the movie's most fascinating components, however, is its depiction of Harding's relationship with her abusive mother, played by Allison Janney.
Harding said the actress "totally blew it out of the water," and added, "That was my mother."
It was a testament to Janney's performance, but DeGeneres pointed out, also kind of sad for Harding that this almost cartoonishly overbearing presence was her actual mother. "How did you go out there and perform with that kind of energy coming at you?" she asked.
"When someone tells you that you're fat, you're ugly, you're never going to amount to anything, it makes you want to overcome that and be the best that you can be," Harding responded. "I didn't want to be like her. I wanted to go out and do something more for myself. I was very excited that I achieved something in my life that meant something. And with the new movie, it actually made my life feel like it was worth something." '
"First of all, I should say, and I hope you take this in, you made something of yourself no matter what happens, and if this movie hadn't been made," DeGeneres told her.
"I'm just glad that my life can help other people realize, 'You know what? You are beautiful inside. No matter what anyone else says, love yourself, because that's all that matters.'" It's a message DeGeneres was clearly hopeful Harding could internalize as well.
Later in the show, DeGeneres shared the latest installment of "Average Andy," when she has her show producer Andy Lassner go and do something he is absolutely unqualified to do. In this case, it was hit the ice with Harding. While it was hilarious watching Lassner fumble his way through the tepid routine Harding choreographed, it was even more impressive to see how much grace and strength she still possesses on the ice at 47 years old.
It may not have been the triple axel, but it was certainly more impressive than anything Lassner was able to muster on the ice. His most provocative move was probably the accidental feel he copped at the end of the routine.