Rosie O'Donnell Said She Had a Crush on This "The View" Co-Host
"Not that I wanted to kiss her. I wanted to support, raise, elevate her."
While Rosie O'Donnell was only a host on The View for two years—from 2006 to 2007 and again from 2014 to 2015—she still had the opportunity to work with several other women on the show. Just like the rest of the panelists, O'Donnell got involved in her share of impassioned debates on the air, but that's not to say that she didn't also admire her coworkers. In fact, Rosie O'Donnell went as far as to say that there was one The View co-host she actually had "a crush" on. Read on to learn who she was talking about and how she responded to that revelation.
O'Donnell revealed that she had "little bit of a crush" on Elisabeth Hasselbeck.
O'Donnell made the revelation during an interview with author Ramin Setoodeh for the 2019 book Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of "The View" when talking about her relationship with Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Hasselbeck co-hosted The View from 2003 to 2013 and thus worked with O'Donnell on her first stint on the show.
"There was a little bit of a crush," O'Donnell said, as reported by Variety. "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."
O'Donnell went on to say that she thought that there were "lesbian undertones" to their relationship. She also made a much-discussed comment about Hasselbeck's history as Division-I softball player at Boston College, saying, "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."
Hassebeck has been married to former NFL player Tim Hasselbeck since 2002.
O'Donnell stressed in the book that she didn't have romantic or sexual feelings for her co-host, however.
"I was going to Scottie Pippen her," she said, referencing the former pro basketball player. "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."
O'Donnell said that her most famous fight with Hasselbeck "felt like a breakup."
Also in the book, O'Donnell looked back on the infamous argument she had with Hasselbeck about the Iraq War on The View in May 2007, which ended up getting personal. O'Donnell claimed that several news outlets twisted her words from an earlier show, saying that she called the U.S. troops "terrorists." After reiterating that she supported the armed forces, she called Hasselbeck "cowardly" for not defending her.
Though it had been nearly 12 years since the blowout, O'Donnell still recalled how hurt she had felt.
"It felt like a lover breaking up," O'Donnell said to Setoodeh. "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.'"
Hasselbeck called O'Donnell's comments "reckless."
Hasselbeck made a guest appearance on the show in March 2019, the day after O'Donnell's comments became public. Current host Sunny Hostin asked for her response to them.
"I think what she said was reckless, untrue and not only insulting, [but] disturbing, when it comes to how she felt about somebody in the workplace," Hasselbeck said.
She pointed to what she felt was a double standard, saying that if a man had said those things about her, the perception would be that she had been objectified by a colleague. Hasselbeck added that she felt that O'Donnell shouldn't get a pass for making these comments because she's "a lesbian objectifying a woman."
The former co-host then said that the crush was not mutual and that she felt that O'Donnell's comments about her being a softball player were inappropriate.
"If you're an athletic girl, and you're competitive and you're gritty, and I wore eye black and I slid into second base," Hasselbeck explained. "It's a lie and it's reckless to attach a sexuality to that. And I think it's selfish on her part."
For more entertainment and celebrity news sent straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
She said she forgave her, however.
Hasselbeck said in the same appearance that she still respects O'Donnell and wasn't angry with her. She also said that she tried to reach out to her former co-worker before coming onto the show but hadn't heard back.
"I forgive Rosie," Hasselbeck added. "I absolutely forgive her because I was disturbed by what she said, and I was offended by it. And she has my forgiveness full heart, and I pray that she can have the peace that she deserves."
O'Donnell said that Hasselbeck was "afraid."
O'Donnell responded to Hasselbeck on social media.
"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," she tweeted. She also added the hashtag "#raminSUX," seemingly blaming Setoodeh for the controversy.
O'Donnell went live on her Instagram to comment further, as reported by Entertainment Tonight. She accused Hasselbeck of being "afraid of the concept of a lesbian having a crush on her" and characterized her comments on The View as "accusing [O'Donnell] of sexually harassing her." She stressed again that the crush was not sexual, and that "we should have all learned by the Tom Cruise crush scenario" that she has nonsexual crushes on lots of people.
"She couldn't take it that somebody was nice to her!" O'Donnell went on. "She liked me back. It wasn't like a sexual thing, but she liked me back. We were friends, and I have proof. Watch all those episodes."