Were Rosie O’Donnell and Elisabeth Hasselbeck more than just cohosts while starring on The View? According to a revealing new book titled Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View, Rosie and Elisabeth had a close relationship offscreen despite often fighting with one another on the hit daytime talk show.
“I loved her,” Rosie, 57, confessed in the book written by Ramin Setoodeh and available to purchase on Tuesday, April 2. The veteran star then detailed how she once gave Elisabeth, 41, advice on how to debate on television. “Here’s what I said, ‘I’m the senior. She’s the freshman. I’ve got a really good player on the freshman team, but I have to teach her how to loosen up,'” she explained, according to Variety.
Though fellow cohost Joy Behar once speculated that Rosie had a crush on Elisabeth while they both appeared on the show, the mom-of-five didn’t confirm that sentiment until now. “I think there were underlying lesbian undertones on both parts,” Rosie said about her working relationship with Elisabeth. “I think this is something that will hurt her if you write it. She was the MVP of a Division 1 softball team for two years that won the finals. 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.”
Rosie then admitted she was attracted to Elisabeth but confirmed she never did anything to show her feelings. “There was a little bit of a crush. 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,” she explained in the book. “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.”
Before Rosie ultimately left The View in 2007 after appearing on just one season — she later returned as a cohost from 2014-2015 — she and Elisabeth had an explosive fight that damaged their friendship after Elisabeth refused to defend Rosie against conservative critics. “It felt like a lover breaking up. 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,'” she recalled of her final day on TV with Elisabeth, who also exited The View after 10 years in 2013.