Luke Bryan made his final appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show on Wednesday (May 18), and he ended his time on the show by publicly thanking the beloved talk show host for everything she's done for him and for country artists in general over the years.

DeGeneres is bringing her long-running talk show to an end after 19 years, and Bryan is just one of a long string of country artists she's had on the show repeatedly, giving them widespread mainstream exposure far outside of the usual country demographics.

During the interview, Bryan looked back to his own first appearance on the show in November of 2011, when he was set to perform at the CMA Awards for the first time ever, as well as hosting DeGeneres' red carpet coverage of the event. Though he admits the stress of that caused him to have a panic attack, Bryan is forever grateful to DeGeneres for the exposure he says helped alter his entire career trajectory.

"To be in country music and to have somebody like you uplift country music singers and put us in front of, just massive audiences," he says gratefully. "I mean, the day I came on this show, I was like, I knew that my career had gone to another level. I was making the big time. I mean, when you sit in this chair, you really feel like, all right, you're a part of the big time."

Bryan adds that it was a noticeable turning point for him.

"And then you start playing Madison Square Garden, and places in these huge cities," he says. "And it's all because of you believing in guys like me."

Bryan ends his appearance by lifting a can of his very own Two Lane beer to DeGeneres in a fitting acknowledgement of all of their shared appearances on the show that had so much impact on both of them.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show will come to an end with a special finale episode on Thursday, May 26.

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