Twelve years after the musician Greyson Chance went viral for a cover of “Paparazzi” by Lady Gaga, he is now speaking about his experience being mentored by Ellen DeGeneres. He was formerly signed to her eleveneleven record label and got many of opportunities after appearing on her show and elsewhere, but now has much less love for her and referred to her as “controlling” and “manipulative” in a new interview with Rolling Stone.

The host awarded Chance $10,000 and a new piano on the show, and even offered to help guide his career which he and his family accepted. After DeGeneres guided him through recording his first EP and tours, Chance realized that she had “became domineering and way too controlling,” also adding that one text from DeGeneres could upend “my whole whole week, my whole month, my whole year.”

He also recounted a story of hearing DeGeneres berate his mother loudly over the phone when he was too tired to watch Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never documentary on tour after her request. “What type of mother are you? Do you realize that I went out of my way to get this for you, and he can’t sit down and watch it?” Chance recalled hearing DeGeneres say.

DeGeneres eventually swapped being controlling over Chance to being absent when it appeared his star power was fading. After the low performance of his 2012 album Truth Be Told, Part 1, Chance said he was quickly dropped by representation DeGeneres helped him secure, and that the host herself stopped returning his calls.

His mother Lisa said she wasn’t as personally hurt as Greyson over the issue. “I think that Ellen is a businesswoman,” she said. “And if something isn’t trending the way she wants it to, she’s going to put an end to it because it’s business to her.”

Chance then spent the next several years doing music on his own, attending college, and even returning to Ellen on several occasions for onscreen check-ins that were much more distant off-camera. He bitterly recalled one moment where DeGeneres praised him for coming out as gay, and saying “She had nothing to do with that … That’s so messed up, that you’re now showing the world as if we’re so tight. We’re so good. And behind the scenes, you are this insanely manipulative person.”

A source close to DeGeneres told US Weekly that Chance “did not make complaints” while he was signed to her label and that Ellen went “above and beyond” to try and help the young artist.

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