This Controversial Former "The View" Co-Host Is Returning This Week
She made a fiery exit from the show, but she will be back on Season 25 for the first time in five years.
The View has been on the air for an astounding 24 seasons, and it's arguably best known for its very heated exchanges between co-hosts. Of course, when The View begins its new season on Sept. 7, fans can expect more of the same as well as some changes. After four tension-filled years on the show, Meghan McCain left The View at the end of Season 24, and the talk show recently announced that nine guest hosts, from former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice to Real Housewives of New York star Eboni K. Williams, will sit in her seat in a rotating fashion to bring their opinions to table. But those aren't the only fresh faces fans will see when the co-hosts of The View return to the studio for the first time in 18 months this week.
For the 25th season of the show, The View is trawling through its Rolodex to bring back some of its most controversial past co-hosts. It's quite a Rolodex, too. The show has had an astonishing 22 full-time hosts throughout its run. Some left on great terms, while others let the bickering and bantering get the best of them. Read on to hear who's signed on for another opportunity to take some time to enjoy The View.
Original co-host Star Jones is set to return to The View on Friday for the first time in five years.
When The View launched in 1997, Star Jones, a lawyer and legal correspondent for NBC Nightly News, was one of the original five co-hosts, along with Joy Behar, Debbie Matenopoulos, Meredith Vieira, and Barbara Walters.
She left in 2006 and has since returned as both a guest and guest co-host, but she hasn't been back on the show since 2018. But this week, Jones will be the first former co-host of The View to appear as part of its "Flashback Fridays" series, which features past hosts returning to the table for the 25th season. (The rest of the season's "Flashback Friday" co-hosts have yet to be announced. )
On Sept. 10, Jones will share the stage with The View's current slate of hosts: her original co-host Behar, along with Whoopi Goldberg, Sunny Hostin, and Sarah Haines.
Star Jones and Barbara Walters butted heads on The View.
Jones went through a lot of change during her time on The View. She had gastric bypass in 2003 and lost more than 160 pounds, which she allegedly asked her co-hosts not to discuss on-air.
Walters told Oprah Winfrey in a 2008 interview that she and the other co-hosts of The View had kept Jones' gastric bypass a secret against her better judgment. "We had to lie on the set every day because [Star] said it was portion control and pilates. Well, we knew it wasn't portion control and pilates," she said. "And the whole point of the program is honesty."
Also during her time on The View, Jones married her first husband, Al Reynolds, in 2004. (They divorced in 2008 and she's been married to Ricardo Lugo since 2018.) Jones spent several months before her wedding promoting her vendors on air, which reportedly angered some of her co-stars, Walters in particular, who was the most established member of The View's panel and one of the show's executive producers. Walters later told Winfrey that Jones "wanted the biggest extravaganza wedding—she wanted to be a princess," suggesting she promoted the vendors to get freebies.
Jones shocked her co-stars when she announced she was leaving The View on air in 2006.
Jones was told her contract would not renew in April 2006, and she and the producers decided on a date for her to announce her departure. But on June 27, Jones jumped the gun and surprised her co-hosts in the middle of the show's "Hot Topics" segment. "Something has been on my heart for a little bit, and after much prayer and counsel, I feel like this is the right time to tell you that the show is moving in another direction for its 10th season, and I will not be returning as co-host next year," she said, according to The New York Times.
In an article published after the announcement, People revealed that Jones had previously told them: "My contract was not renewed. I feel like I was fired." Soon, the gloves came off.
Following her departure, Jones and Walters had a very public feud.
Jones' handling of the departure left Walters feeling "betrayed," she told People shortly after Jones' revelation. "What I really don't understand is why say, 'I was fired'? The View's co-executive producer Bill Geddie and I said to her, 'Handle this any way you want. You can say anything about a new job. You can say anything about a new road. Whatever you say, we'll back you up. We will never say that your contract was not renewed,'" Walters said.
Walters did further press about Jones' departure, saying she'd fallen out of favor with fans. "They had done a great deal of research, and her negatives were rising," Walters told The Times in 2006. "Not so much because of what she did on the air. It was things she did off the air. The audience was losing trust in her. They didn't believe some of the things she said."
In her 2008 interview with Winfrey, Walter added that Jones' secretive weight loss was a part of the problem. "[The audience] didn't relate to her anymore. You can change if you're honest about your change," she said. "[The viewers] turned on [Star] because they knew she wasn't telling the truth. If she'd said, 'I had a gastric bypass operation. … Let me tell you what's good about it. Let me tell you what's bad about it. I'm losing weight; I'm also doing pilates and watching my diet,' it would have been different. They would have loved her for it."
Jones hit back by criticizing Walters after she revealed she'd had an affair with a married politician in the '70s in her 2008 memoir Audition. "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 said in a statement. "It speaks to her true character."
After the dust had settled a bit, Jones returned to The View in 2012 and the women discussed the post-departure feud. "I came back to congratulate you on all you accomplished. I hope you congratulate me on what I accomplished," Jones said, sitting between her former co-hosts Walters and Behar. "We tried to protect you. We were told, 'Don't say it was gastric [bypass]. Say it was pilates and portion control,'" Behar said (via People). "We did lie for you!" Walters added, to which Jones responded, "Who cares? I look good."