by Corinne Heller | Wed., Mar. 27, 2019 9:17 AM
The liberal comedienne and actress had begun co-hosting the ABC daytime series in 2006, replacingMeredith Vieira. She left the show a year later after she and right-wing panelist Elisabeth Hasselbeck got into a screaming political argument. O'Donnell returned as a co-host on The View in 2014, then left the following year to focus on her health and family—at the time, the mother of five had recently split from wife Michelle Rounds.
O'Donnell's brief second run on the show was plagued by rumors that she and Goldberg were feuding bitterly behind the scenes. This is confirmed in the new book Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View. Writer and journalist Ramin Setoodeh writes that there was tension between the two, who clashed in 2009 over controversial director Roman Polanski—O'Donnell disagreed with Goldberg's assertion that he hadn't committed "rape rape," despite having pled guilty to statutorily raping a 13-year-old girl in 1979, according to People.
Setoodeh writes that tension between the two continued when the comedienne rejoined The View in 2014, adding that O'Donnell claimed that Goldberg would shut down her ideas, and that O'Donnell complained about Goldberg to celebrity guests.
"Whoopi Goldberg was as mean as anyone has ever been on television to me, personally—while I was sitting there," O'Donnell told Setoodeh, according to an excerpt obtained by E! News. "Worse than Fox News. The worst experience I've ever had on live television was interacting with her."
"Some people would say, 'What's going on with you and Whoopi?'" she continued. "I was like, 'Are you watching the show? It's pretty much right there.' I have no desire for a public feud."
She recalled sparring with Goldberg about racism with guest co-host Laverne Cox.
"I thought my head was going to explode," O'Donnell told Setoodeh. "My doctor called me and said, 'Come in right now. Your heart rate during that is dangerous for you. I don't want you doing that show anymore.'"
O'Donnell added, "She's a minority, feminist, smart, funny, groundbreaking legend who is black in America. I'm never going to not have respect for Whoopi Goldberg. But that was a painful experience, personally and professionally."
Goldberg has not commented on O'Donnell's remarks about her or about their relationship.
Also in Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View, O'Donnell claims she had " a little bit of a crush" on Hasselbeck.
"But not that I wanted to kiss her," she claimed in an excerpt, published by Variety. "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 [Michael] Jordan, I was going to give her and the ball and let her shoot. But it was in no way sexualized."
Hasselbeck appeared on The View on Tuesday and called O'Donnell's comments "reckless," "untrue" and "not only insulting [but also] disturbing when it comes to how she felt about somebody in the workplace."
"That person happened to be me," she continued. "But if you replace what Rosie said and you take her name out and you put in Ruben or Robert, then we would be in a situation where you would see the objectification of a woman in the workplace. And that's disturbing because where we may be really against that when it comes from a man to a woman, you don't get a pass because you're a lesbian objectifying a woman in the workplace. You just don't."
She also made it clear "the feeling was not mutual."
"But I did respect her as a co-host and as a person in the office—as I think it should happen in all workplaces," she said. "But I think what we're hearing is: We should be as disturbed about that in this case as we have been in the fact if her name was Robert."
Hasselbeck said she forgives O'Donnell for her comments. O'Donnell later tweeted, "hey eh - my crush on u was not sexual - sorry u got scared - surely u recall b4 it all went wrong - i never objectified u - i did find u fantastic - broadway shows - my pool -we were friends once. god love ya kid - i always did."