Rosie O’Donnell is spilling some tea about her tumultuous time on The View. The former talk show host had two abbreviated go-arounds on the ABC daytime show, one of them ending after a blowout fight with Elisabeth Hasselbeck during a live episode. O’Donnell, 57, is now dishing on her relationship with her embattled ex co-star, and alleging that she even thinks that Hasselbeck is a little gay.
According to Variety, in Ramin Setoodeh’s buzzy new book, Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View, Rosie O’Donnell admitted that she had “a little bit of a crush” on Elisabeth Hasselbeck when they co-hosted The View together from 2006 through 2007.
In an even more surprising revelation, O’Donnell said she thinks that Hasselbeck’s past as an athlete is evidence of the “underlying lesbian undertones on both parts” when it came to their relationship. Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who competed on the second season of Survivor, has been married to former NFL star Tim Hasselbeck since 2002. They have three kids together.
In the surprising tell-all, Rosie O’Donnell told Setoodeh that she “loved” Elisabeth Hasselbeck, but claimed it was not in a physical way. Instead, Rosie says she looked out for Elisabeth, who is 15 years her junior, as more of a “freshman” teammate, revealing that she tried to “teach her [Elisabeth] how to loosen up” when she first started on the TV talk show.
O’Donnell, who came out as gay to her fans decades ago, also confirmed that she had a little crush on Hasselbeck. However, O’Donnell stopped short of admitting that she ever wanted to date Elisabeth. Instead, Rosie threw out a wild theory about her former co-star.
“I think there were underlying lesbian undertones on both parts. She was the MVP of a Division 1 softball team for two years that won the finals. There are not many, in my life, girls with such athletic talent on sports teams that are traditionally male that aren’t at least a little bit gay.”
Rosie O’Donnell made it clear that she was never attracted to Elisabeth Hasselbeck in a physical way, and that she just wanted to mentor her.
“There was a little bit of a crush. Not that I wanted to kiss her. I wanted to support, raise, elevate her, like she was the freshman star shortstop and I was the captain of the team. I was going to Scottie Pippen her. If I was Jordan, I was going to give her and the ball and let her shoot. But it was in no way sexualized.”
In 2007, Rosie O’Donnell and Elisabeth Hasselbeck had a blowout argument during a heated Hot Topics segment about the war in Iraq. ABC switched to a split-screen format as the two View stars went at it in one of the most volatile segments ever to air on the long-running talk show. Rosie O’Donnell ended up quitting The View immediately after the fight, and while much of America sided with her, Hasselbeck’s “likability numbers” never recovered, according to Entertainment Tonight.
In the new book, Rosie O’Donnell said that after the fight with Elisabeth, “It felt like a lover breaking up.”
“The fight that we had, to me as a gay woman, it felt like this: ‘You don’t love me as much as I love you.’ ‘I’ve taken care of you.’ ‘You have not.’ ‘How could you do that to me?'”
Elisabeth Hasselbeck left The View in 2013, and later slammed ABC for hiring Rosie O’Donnell back for a brief stint in 2014. The two women have reportedly not spoken in years, although Hasselbeck claimed she tried to contact Rosie after the famous fight — but that her former co-star refused to take her call.
Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View will be released on April 2.