Rosie O’Donnell: pioneer lesbian TV host spills on Ellen
Comedian and television personality Rosie O’Donnell whose talk show paved the way for The Ellen DeGeneres Show told late-night talk show host Andy Cohen that DeGeneres afterwards snubbed her.
The Rosie O’Donnell Show ran from 1996 until 2002 and picked up several Daytime Emmy Awards. In early 2002, Rosie appeared on an episode of Will & Grace playing a lesbian mum. A month later, she came out as a lesbian during a cancer benefit.
“I’m a dyke! … I don’t know why people make such a big deal about the gay thing. … People are confused, they’re shocked like this is a big revelation to somebody.”
Two months later, her show finished.
Always outspoken, Rosie, also known as a relentless charity fundraiser and generous philanthropist, became known as the Queen of Nice, something of a precursor to the Ellen DeGeneres ‘Be Kind’ show slogan.
Ellen DeGeneres, in fact, appeared on The Rosie O’Donnell Show long before her own daytime talk show began in 2003.
I don’t know Rosie
But, as Rosie explained to Andy Cohen, Ellen seemed to forget that once her own show began.
“We had a little bit of a weird thing.
“After my show went off the air and hers was coming on the air, Larry King was on with Ellen and he said, ‘Whatever happened to Rosie O’Donnell? Her show went down the tubes. She came out as a lesbian and disappeared!’
“And Ellen said, and I’m quoting, ‘I don’t know Rosie. We’re not friends.’”
Rosie said she ‘never really got over’ the comments.
“I was in bed with Kelli, and I said, ‘Did I just hear that or was that a hallucination?’
“It hurt my feelings, like a baby, and I never really got over it.”
Rosie O’Donnell also revealed she was asked to appear on The Ellen DeGeneres Show before it ended. She asked if she could bring someone with her so it would be ‘a little less awkward’. When staff on the show refused the request, she declined the invitation to appear.
“I wish her all good things in her life and that she should be well, so there you go.”
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