Portia de Rossi and Ellen DeGeneres Portia de Rossi and Ellen DeGeneres

Though Portia de Rossi has been with Ellen DeGeneres since 2004, it was their August 2008 nuptials that brought them even closer together and "completely changed my life," de Rossi says.

"Marriage is a different way of being together," the actress tells People. "There's a peace to [being married] and a sense of togetherness that we just didn't have before. And I didn't even realize it would change as much as it has, but it's so lovely."

Having their marriage being officially recognized evoked a plethora of emotions for de Rossi, who stars in the upcoming ABC series Better Off Ted.

"I think the emotions that went with that as a gay woman kind of surprised me — that I would be that relieved to have my mother be present at the ceremony to bless the union, and to call [Ellen] her daughter-in-law," she says.

The sole blemish on their union was when Prop 8 was passed in November, thus revoking same-sex couples the right to marry in California. Though the passage was "devastating," de Rossi is hopeful it will be overturned one day.

"Every day of our lives is a protest against the passing of Prop 8," she said. "We're a happily married couple."