Rosie O’Donnell will probably never be friends with Ellen DeGeneres, and honestly, we can’t really blame her!
While speaking to The Hollywood Reporter in a new Pride issue out on Thursday, the comedian opened up at length about her public falling out with Ellen. If you don’t recall, the pair had a “good relationship” and “were friends” as they were getting their start in the industry. Ellen even appeared on The Rosie O’Donnell Show and the two came out as “Lebanese” in a hilarious bit ahead of the actress’ coming out in an episode of her self-titled sitcom.
Then, of course, Ellen would snag her own TV show, essentially replacing Rosie on the airwaves. Considering how much they both have in common, you’d think they’d be the best of friends — but nope! Now, Rosie’s breaking it all down!
Rosie began by recalling a time when the duo was friendly, sharing:
“We supported each other. Which is why when she came on my show, I said, ‘Let me not have you standing there by yourself. Let’s get a joke in there.’ And we sat down and came up with that, ‘Oh my God, I love Casey Kasem. Maybe I’m Lebanese.’ It became a big thing. Then the episode aired, Time ran its ‘Yep, I’m Gay’ cover and everybody was asking me, ‘What do you think about Ellen?’ It became a strange, ‘There can’t be two lesbians in this town,’ kind of a thing. Then we each had success and went separate ways.”
That said, everything changed in 1998 when the embattled talk show host appeared on Larry King Live and claimed she didn’t know Rosie AT ALL! The A League Of Their Own star dished:
“Larry King said, ‘Whatever happened to Rosie O’Donnell’s show? She went down the tubes as soon as she came out.’ And the quote that Ellen said was, ‘I don’t know Rosie. We’re not friends.’ I was watching TV in bed with my wife going, ‘Did she just say that?’”
It was a particularly hurtful comment because they actually did have a very close relationship at that point, Rosie explained:
“It would never occur to me to say ‘I don’t know her’ about somebody whose babies I held when they were born. It wouldn’t be in my lexicon of choices to ever say. When she was in a perplexing situation and people were saying things about her, I said, ‘Let me stand next to you and say that I’m Lebanese, too.’ When it was a downward media time for me, she didn’t do anything.”
Damn. That is WAY harsh.
Also, when Rosie asked to promote a project on Ellen, the host said NO! She was so upset by this, Rosie then declined every other time producers tried to get her on the series moving forward. The Sleepless in Seattle star explained:
“She used the same staff from my show — Jim Paratore, Andy Lassner. So that was odd. It was very similar to my show. And then I asked to go on because of something I was promoting, and she said no. And I remember going, ‘Seriously?’ After she said no that one time, whenever they would ask [me to appear] on the show, I would say no.”
So, knowing all of this complicated AF backstory, you might be surprised to find out Ellen actually reached out to Rosie very recently to apologize!! The L Word: Generation Q alum spilled the tea:
“She texted me a few weeks ago checking in, seeing how I’m doing, and I asked her how she’s surviving not being on TV. It’s a big transition. But we’ve had our weirdness in our relationship. I don’t know if it’s jealousy, competition or the fact that she said a mean thing about me once that really hurt my feelings.”
“She wrote, ‘I’m really sorry and I don’t remember that.’ I guess she saw me talk about it on Andy Cohen’s show. I remembered it so well, I had T-shirts printed and I gave them to my staff that said ‘I don’t know Rosie. We’re not friends.’ I have a picture of her holding [my then-infant son] Parker. I know her mother. I could identify her brother without her in the room. I knew her for so many years. It just felt like I don’t trust this person to be in my world.”
Rosie appeared on WWHL in September and Ellen only reached out a few weeks ago. Even that seems insensitive. Why wait so long?! We don’t fault Rosie for holding a little bit of a grudge or just not trusting Ellen as much anymore. It doesn’t sound like she was treated very well throughout their pseudo-friendship. Thoughts?! Let us know (below)!