by Josh Grossberg | Wed., May. 7, 2008 1:25 PM
The erstwhile View cohost has hit back at her former mentor after Walters blabbed in her recently published memoir Audition, that the View crew was, at Jones behest, forced to lie about her having gastric bypass surgery.
"It is a sad day when an icon like Barbara Walters, in the sunset of her life, is reduced to publicly branding herself as an adulterer, humiliating an innocent family with accounts of her illicit affair and speaking negatively against me all for the sake of selling a book," Jones tells Us Weekly. "It speaks to her true character."
Walters repeated the Jones assertions on The Oprah Winfrey Show Tuesday, during which she also acknowledged having a secret fling with then married Senator Edward Brooke in the 1970s.
Walters' rep declined to comment today on Jones' statement.
During her stint on the gabfest, Jones had maintained that she lost more than 160 pounds in 2003 thanks to Pilates and better eating habits.
Per Walters' memoir, Jones rejected a proposal by Walters to have 20/20 dedicate an entire episode to chronicling the bypass and Jones' recovery, saying she didn't want to be the "poster child" for the operation.
Jones revealed on air in 2006 that she was leaving The View much to the surprise of Walters, who later said she was caught off guard by the announcement.
It wasn't until the following year that Jones finally came clean about having the procedure.
It's been a rough few months for Jones. Her TruTV show was canceled in February, and last month she filed for divorce from hubby Al Reynolds, whom she married in a televised, star-studded, corporate-sponsored 2004 wedding in New York City.