When young, we’re taught that the people who give us a hard time actually just have a crush on us.
Well, that’s apparently true even when we’re older — and hosting a daytime talk show.
Rosie O’Donnell made this clear in the upcoming book Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story Of “The View”, in which she reveals harboring complicated feelings toward onscreen nemesis Elisabeth Hasselbeck.
Speaking to Variety’s Ramin Setoodeh, the comedienne recounted the day in May 2007 where she had a 10-minute fight on national television with her conservative cohost about the Iraq War.
As the two quarreled about who the real terrorists were — Iraqis or the invading U.S. soldiers who reportedly killed over 600,000 Iraqis — O’Donnell mercilessly teased Hasselbeck over not liking “facts,” to which the Survivor alum countered:
“I am all about facts. You know that. You tell me not to use facts because you want me to go only on emotion. Guess what? I like facts.”
To many, it seemed as if O’Donnell and Hasselbeck were the worst of enemies. But Rosie says that couldn’t be further from the truth.
In the book, she claims she “loved” her former cohost and, TBH, had a bit of a “crush” on her!
Looking back on her often combative working relationship with the TV personality, O’Donnell admitted:
“I think there were underlying lesbian undertones on both parts.”
Oh? Do elaborate!
She continued, backing up her suspicions:
“I think this is something that will hurt her if you write it. 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.”
Ah, the old every-girl-who-plays-softball-is-a-lesbian stereotype. We expect better from you, Rosie!
While the SMILF actress admitted she had a thing for her 41-year-old cohost — something Joy Behar speculated long ago — O’Donnell insisted that she never would have acted on it:
“There was a little bit of a crush. 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.”
Changing her sports metaphors from baseball to basketball (something we’ll point out for our non-lesbian readers), the 57-year-old added:
“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.”
So, Rosie didn’t want to corrupt Elisabeth into being gay. She just wanted to groom the newcomer into an entertaining daytime television personality — one who Rosie hoped would be in her corner as she tried to take over the show.
Interestingly enough, there was more behind the scenes drama playing out on the view that same year: O’Donnell tried to take the reins of the show from creator Barbara Walters and executive producer Bill Geddie. Initially, Hasselbeck was playing for O’Donnell’s team.
“Here’s what I said, ‘I’m the senior. She’s the freshman. I’ve got a really good player on the freshman team, but I have to teach her how to loosen up.’”
But, again… not like that!
Eventually, the alliance between the two shattered — which put a strain their onscreen relationship that ultimately led to their infamous blow-up. While, at the time, their heated argument seemed like it stemmed from a political disagreement, O’Donnell explains it was actually more like a lovers’ spat.
Recalling the final straw of their friendship, when Elisabeth refused to defend Rosie from conservative critics, the TV personality said:
“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?’ ‘I didn’t do anything to you.’”
So. Many. Emotions.
The book also reveals that, as a result of that fight, ABC found that Hasselbeck’s likability numbers plummeted with viewers and never recovered. Seven years later, she was fired from The View because the network wanted the program to become less political and thought the conservative commentator was too “polarizing.”
Things worked out, in the end. Elisabeth went on to host Fox and Friends for two years, where she got to be as conservative as she wanted to be and no longer had to put up with the unwanted affections of snarky lesbians…. only older heterosexual men. Like the good lord intended.
Re-watch their infamous cat fight (below) with this new information:
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