Rosie O’Donnell’s biggest feuds stemming from ‘The View’

THE VIEW - Rosie O'Donnell returns to THE VIEW to a standing ovation, FRIDAY, FEB. 7 (11:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon, ET) airing on the Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images Television Network.  Never shy on opinions, the Emmy Award-winner joins the co-hosts for Hot Topics, shares how her life dramatically changed since leaving THE VIEW and makes a declaration that even she thought she would never say.  The appearance marks the first time Rosie O'Donnell has returned to the talk show since moderating Season 10 (2006-2007).    (Photo by Lou Rocco/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images)

Rosie O’Donnell details a big blowup she had with The View boss Barbara Walters. (Photo: Lou Rocco/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images)

Rosie O’Donnell’s tenure on The View was just a brief part of the ABC talk show’s 25-year history yet it sparked some of the biggest fireworks.

After having her own eponymous talk show, the outspoken actress/comedian/talk show host, now 61, was tapped by The View co-creator Barbara Walters, who launched the show in 1997, to join as moderator for Season 10 in 2006. O’Donnell, who’s credited for launching the show’s signature political debates, stayed just one season, but it spawned big moments, headlines and, yes, feuds. O’Donnell returned to the show seven years later, as a host for Season 18, but didn’t complete the season before exiting again.

Rosie vs. Barbara Walters

In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the 61-year-old revealed a screaming match with the late Walters, with whom she had a friendship before being hired. She said the dispute stemmed from Walters not supporting her amid another feud — with Donald Trump — and it escalated when O’Donnell made a comment about Walters’s daughter.

THE VIEW -  Barbara Walters and Cristela Alonzo (Walt Disney Television via Getty Images's

O’Donnell said she made up with Walters and they were on good terms when Walters died in 2022. (Photo: Lou Rocco/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)

“Barbara and I got in a huge fight, and it was about the Donald Trump thing,” O’Donnell said. He published an open letter to me” on January 9, 2007. “In it, he wrote that she’d called him ‘to apologize for my behavior,'” after O’Donnell criticized him on the show. “I was like, ‘Whoa.'”

The A League of Their Own actress said she confronted Walters “in the makeup room that day. I said, ‘I can’t believe that I haven’t heard from you during all of this time but that you’ve been communicating with him. Do you consider him your real friend, Barbara? I thought we had something real and something different than the way you’ve been treating me.'” Things “got loud,” she said, “and people were in shock because nobody talked to her like that.”

O’Donnell admitted she crossed the line, however, when “I said something about her daughter,” Jackie, “which I shouldn’t have said. She was hurt. And we were live in 20 minutes.” O’Donnell said she sometimes rewatches that episode and you “can see how tense it was” on the show that day.

As for what she said about Walters’s daughter, it was “nothing horrible,” just that the relationship was “not the kind of relationship I have with my kid. ‘I don’t know what kind of relationship you have with your kid.’ I definitely think that I have a kind of mother thing for older women. Not in a romantic way, but in a maternal guidance way. When I feel hurt by them, it feels much larger in the moment.”

She added that she apologized to Walters “many times, and we got past it and saw each other” before Walters died in 2022.

THE VIEW - 5/15/14 - For the first time in television history, all 11 co-hosts of ABC's 'The View,' present and past, shared the same stage, live, THURSDAY, MAY 15 on ABC to celebrate the shows creator Barbara Walters.  Walters is the last remaining co-host of the original panel of five women she helped assemble. 'The View' airs Monday-Friday (11:00 a.m.- 12 noon, ET) on the ABC Television Network.  
(Photo by Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images)

O’Donnell was there for Walters’s retirement send-off in 2014. (Photo: Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images)

Rosie vs. Donald Trump

O’Donnell’s rift with Walters stemmed from her feud with Trump, which began in O’Donnell’s first season on the show and continues 16 years later.

In 2006, Trump owned the Miss USA pageant, and the young titleholder that year, Tara Conner, got into trouble for partying and kissing another woman, leading to her nearly losing her crown. It was huge news at the time with the NYC businessman announcing, in a press conference, that he’d open-heartedly give Conner a second chance after she agreed to go to rehab.

While discussing the press conference on The View‘s Dec. 20, 2006 show, O’Donnell mocked the whole thing, saying of the future president, he “left the first wife, had an affair, left the second wife, had an affair. Had kids both times, but he’s the moral compass for 20-year-olds in America.” And she didn’t leave it there, she also called him a “snake-oil salesman,” and predicted he’d try to sue her, but quipped, “he’ll probably be bankrupt by that time, so I won’t have to worry.”

Those comments launched the epic feud with Trump — which Walters apparently reached out to Trump behind O’Donnell’s back over, leaving O’Donnell feeling betrayed. The Apprentice star then waged a campaign to bash O’Donnell, appearing on David Letterman and Larry King’s shows to call her a “loser” and talk about how he could steal O’Donnell’s girlfriend.

“It was not just an attack on me but on all women he doesn’t deem worthy, whether they’re in his mind not pretty enough, too tough, not feminine enough, not straight enough, not beautiful enough,” she told THR, adding that nobody stuck up for her “except for my friends” — minus Walters apparently.

Rosie O'Donnell speaks at a protest rally organized by activists against U.S. President Donald Trump outside the White House in Washington February 28, 2017. REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan
O’Donnell at a protest rally against Trump outside the White House in 2017. She still speaks out about him on the regular, including after his most recent indictment. (Photo: REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan)

She holds her belief to this day that his big press conference to give Conner another chance was bunk, saying it was “as if he were the pimp and she was the prostitute who had acted out. It infuriated me in every way. I said, ‘This man’s a piece of crap. Here’s the proof.’ … I blame [The Apprentice creator] Mark Burnett fully for creating a show that was fiction and selling it as fact. There was no boardroom at Trump Tower. They created a boardroom with fake flats and walls. There was no big organization of Trump running the world. He was not a billionaire.”

Rosie vs. Elisabeth Hasselbeck

Next on the list is drama with her former co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck. She started out friendly with the former Survivor contestant, the conservative voice on the show, but their “Hot Topics” sparring exploded on the May 23, 2007 episode. They had a blowup over the Iraq War.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Rosie O'Donnell (Photo by Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)

Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Rosie O’Donnell were friends at one point. (Photo: Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)

“One day on the show she kind of threw me under the bus and I was like, ‘Are you f***ing kidding me?'” O’Donnell said on Brooke Shields’s podcast this year. “I finished the show, got my coat, walked out, and said I’m not going back, and I didn’t, until a few years later when they asked me to come back.”

She said that after running her own show, she approached The View with a “teamwork” mentality, but felt co-creator Bill Geddie, who shared conservative views with Hasselbeck, would give Hasselbeck daily Republican “talking points.” O’Donnell said she was always “trying to get [Elisabeth] to feel more than to fact, I’m like, ‘But what do you feel about this?’ I tried.”

O’Donnell later agreed to be interviewed about her time on the show for the 2019 book Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of “The View” written by Ramin Setoodeh. She told the author she had “a little bit of a crush” on Hasselbeck during their time on the show. “But 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.” She added that that “there were underlying lesbian undertones on both parts.”

Hasselbeck slammed O’Donnell when the book came out, calling her comments “reckless, untrue and not only insulting, disturbing, when it comes to how she felt about somebody in the workplace.”

O’Donnell later expressed regret over doing the book interview.

Rosie vs. Whoopi Goldberg

When O’Donnell returned to The View for her second run as co-host, which she pulled the plug on months early, Whoopi Goldberg had become the moderator. In the same book interview, O’Donnell told Setoodeh that working with Goldberg was the “worst experience,” claiming she would shut down her ideas, and complained about her to celebrity guests.

THE VIEW - Rosie O'Donnell (holding Dakota) thanks Barbara Walters and the cast and crew of

O’Donnell and Goldberg had a friendly goodbye on O’Donnell’s last show on Feb. 12, 2015, but O’Donnell doesn’t have the fondest memories. (Photo: Lou Rocco/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)

She said “Goldberg was as mean as anyone has ever been on television to me, personally — while I was sitting there. Worse than Fox News. The worst experience I’sve ever had on live television was interacting with her.” O’Donnell said her doctor advised her not to do the show anymore because her “heart rate” reached “dangerous” levels over show drama.

On Shield’s podcast earlier this year, O’Donnell said Goldberg wouldn’t let her talk about Bill Cosby on the show amid the sexual misconduct allegations. “We clashed in ways that I was shocked by,” O’Donnell said.

Goldberg said on The View podcast Behind the Table in 2021 that O’Donnell called her the “meanest woman she ever met in the business.” However, she said time has helped any friction. “Rosie and I have always gotten on when we see each other. We say, ‘Hey, what’s going on?’ And I will always hug her when I see her. There’s no point in being angry at folks. There’s no win… What’s the point?”

Rosie vs. Bill Geddie

O’Donnell said on Shield’s podcast that Geddie, a conservative, fed Hasselbeck pointers to debate her on. She called Geddie, who left the show in 2014, “the producer of an all-woman talk show” and yet “supposedly a woman’s voice was a man — an old, cis, white man Republican who was against everything that I believed in and stood for, and he loved [Hasselbeck], and would go into her little dressing room and give her notes.”

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JUNE 23: Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Bill Geddie speaks onstage during The 39th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards broadcasted on HLN held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on June 23, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/WireImage) 22542_004_2095.JPG

Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Bill Geddie speaks onstage during The 39th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards broadcasted on HLN held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on June 23, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo: Michael Buckner/WireImage)

She told THR, Geddie “really did not enjoy my political views.” She said they would be live and there “would be some major news story of a bombing in Iraq or a platoon killed, and [Geddie] would want you to do the new lipstick shades for segment six. And I would say to him — and we didn’t get along at all — … ‘Do you think that women are so dumb that all they want to talk about is thinner thighs in 30 days? Or what’s on sale?’ The show needed to change because it was a show created by a woman with hosts who were women, run by men. And it didn’t work.”

Rosie vs. Nicolle Wallace

During O’Donnell’s second run on the show, the former communications director for former President George W. Bush, was a co-host and they had many heated exchanges while debating politics. The Setoodeh book detailed an incident which saw O’Donnell blow up at Wallace backstage — twice — leading Wallace to report her co-worker’s outbursts to HR.

O’Donnell gave her take to Setoodeh, saying, “Are you kidding me? I raised my voice. I was in my dressing room, getting my makeup done, and somebody comes and goes, ‘Nicolle Wallace just went to HR…'” The day after the incident, Wallace showed up at work with her husband as her bodyguard. O’Donnell claimed Wallace told her, “I just felt you were threatening me.” The book noted they ended up working things out.

Wallace, who only stayed one season and went on to host Deadline: White House, said on the Behind the Table podcast in 2021, “I’m not going to sugarcoat this for her… She scared the bejesus out of me. I think there was just some muscle memory to fighting with the Republican. And I just I made her mad… I never met anybody like that, and I never figured out how to navigate her during our season.”

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