Rosie O'Donnell Says This Was the One Celebrity She Refused to Interview
She's been in a feud with this public figure for years.
From 1996 to 2002, Rosie O'Donnell hosted her own daytime talk show on NBC. The Rosie O'Donnell Show saw her interview countless celebrities, including her crush Tom Cruise; shoot Koosh balls into the audience; and bring joy and lightness to viewers at home each day. But, while she had a lot of fun with most of her guests, there was one celebrity O'Donnell refused to even speak to.
In an oral history of The Rosie O'Donnell Show published by Vulture for the show's 25th anniversary, O'Donnell revealed the one celebrity she declined to interview throughout the show's run. While this person did end up appearing on the show very briefly, they were only there in a capacity where the host didn't have to exchange words with them. Read on to see who O'Donnell wouldn't interview and where their relationship stands today.
The answer is obvious if you know about O'Donnell's biggest feud.
O'Donnell has been in a war of words with Donald Trump for about 15 years, so it's perhaps no surprise that he is the celebrity she vowed she would never interview on her talkshow. But, she drew that line in the sand years before their very public animosity towards each other actually began.
According to Vulture, O'Donnell wouldn't interview Trump because she considered him a hack. "They asked many times," O'Donnell told Vulture of Trump's team. "The only time I allowed him to come on was to be a sweeper for sweeps." That's a literal statement. During sweeps week, the show did a joke where celebs would come by the show to sweep a broom across the stage. "We had everyone from the Dunkin' Donuts guy to Val Kilmer, and we let Donald Trump be one of those people," O'Donnell explained, "but I didn't have to talk to him."
O'Donnell and Trump's relationship only deterioriated from there.
While O'Donnell could avoid Trump when she was hosting The Rosie O'Donnell Show, she started having actual exchanges with him a few years later. O'Donnell's show ended in 2002, and she joined The View as a co-host in 2006. While talking about Trump's handling of a situation involving Miss USA Tara Conner, who was caught using drugs and drinking underage, O'Donnell criticized Trump, brought up allegations involving his businesses, and called him a "snake oil salesman," according to Business Insider.
Trump responded by calling O'Donnell a "loser"—a word he would repeatedly use when speaking about her in years to come—in a statement to People and threatened to sue her. "I look forward to taking lots of money from my nice fat little Rosie," he said. The feud continued into Trump's presidency.
O'Donnell had issues with a few other guests.
The Vulture story includes some dust-ups that happened onstage and backstage at the Rosie show. The article points out that during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live, O'Donnell claimed Bill Cosby "sexually harassed one of my producers" during his time on the show, which he denied in a statement to USA Today. (He's currently serving a sentence for three counts of sexual assault.)
Additionally, singer and actor Leif Garrett was not invited back after he injured himself in the greenroom.
There was also a situation with Donny Osmond, who made a tasteless joke about how a helicopter wouldn't be able to support O'Donnell's weight. She did invite him back and had him sing "Puppy Love" to her while wearing a dog costume in an act of contrition. "I almost thought I was having a dream or something," O'Donnell told Vulture of the incident with Osmond. "Don't tell me this guy who I just professed my love for is going to come on my show and call me fat."
Of course, she had a lot of high points with celebrities, too.
O'Donnell had plenty of positive moments with her guests. One particularly major moment for the host was when she got to dedicate a whole episode to her dream guest, Barbra Streisand.
"I can't really watch that tape," O'Donnell, who was brought to tears during the interview, explained. "Because even though that seems like a really big emotional thing, it's just the tip of a big, big, big emotional thing. Who would ever think that you could meet the person who you would dream of every single night? If they had had the internet when I was a kid, and there was a possibility that Barbra Streisand would read one of my tweets, I would have never gone to school. I would have stayed home and tweeted, 'Barbra, please, I love you more than anyone else does.'"
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Her well-documented obsession with Cruise started a lifelong friendship.
O'Donnell also got to interview Cruise a number of times, and they built a friendship that lasts to this day. In a recent interview on The Jess Cagle Show, O'Donnell said, "[Cruise] is the only person who never misses my birthday. In knowing him for 25 years now, he has never missed my birthday or an event in my life." She added, "A lot of people say to me, it's just his secretary, but I don't believe that. I think he knows in early March, 'Oh, it's Rosie's birthday coming up.' And he sends me something every single year for 25 years. I love Tom Cruise and I will always love Tom Cruise."