Barack Obama pays tribute to Ellen DeGeneres "courage" in coming out

She was one of 21 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Barack Obama pays tribute to Ellen DeGeneres "courage" in coming out

Image: YouTube/The White House

US President Barack Obama has paid tribute to the 2016 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Some of the biggest names in sport and entertainment have been honoured by Mr Obama with the highest civilian honour in the US.

It presented to individuals who have made "especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavours."

The list included Robert De Niro, Robert Redford, Diana Ross, Tom Hanks, Michael Jordan, Bruce Springsteen and Bill Gates and his wife Melinda.

Two honourees were also awarded the medal posthumously.

Mr Obama became emotional as he paid tribute to entertainer and LGBT activist Ellen De Generes.

He said her decision to come out as gay nearly 20 years ago was a brave step.

The introduction for DeGeneres at the ceremony also made reference to her roles as Dory the fish from 'Finding Nemo' and 'Finding Dory'.

Following the ceremony, recipients partook in a star-studded mannequin challenge.

Watch the full event below (beginning at 46 minutes):