Rosie O’Donnell recently sat down to discuss the falling out between herself and Ellen DeGeneres, shedding light on a pivotal moment that occurred during an episode of ‘Larry King Live.’ The two comedic powerhouses, who rose to fame together and enjoyed a close friendship, found themselves at odds after DeGeneres denied their friendship during her appearance on the talk show.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, O’Donnell reminisced about their bond, stating, “We had known each other for years, both as stand-up comedians and young entertainers in Hollywood.” She recalled how in 1997, during DeGeneres’ press tour for the groundbreaking coming-out episode of her sitcom ‘Ellen,’ she invited DeGeneres as a guest on her own talk show, ‘The Rosie O’Donnell Show,’ to show her support.
“I wanted to make sure she wasn’t standing alone. We came up with a joke together, like ‘Oh my God, I love Casey Kasem. Maybe I’m Lebanese,'” O’Donnell shared. “It became a big moment. But then, as the episode aired and Time magazine ran its ‘Yep, I’m Gay’ cover, everyone started asking me about Ellen. It became this strange notion of ‘There can’t be two lesbians in this town.’ Eventually, we went our separate ways after achieving success individually.”
However, the true strain on their friendship began with DeGeneres’ appearance on ‘Larry King Live.’ O’Donnell recounted, “We’ve had our share of ups and downs in our relationship. I don’t know if it was jealousy, competition, or simply the fact that she said something mean about me that truly hurt my feelings.”
She continued, “It happened on Larry King Live. Larry King asked, ‘What happened to Rosie O’Donnell’s show? Did it go downhill after she came out?’ And Ellen responded with, ‘I don’t know Rosie. We’re not friends.’ I was lying in bed with my wife, watching TV, and I couldn’t believe what I had just heard.”
O’Donnell expressed her shock, considering the length of their friendship and the moments they shared. “I would never think to say ‘I don’t know her’ about someone whose babies I held when they were born. It wouldn’t even cross my mind to utter those words,” she explained.
When the topic was brought up in a recent text exchange between the two women, O’Donnell mentioned that DeGeneres couldn’t even recall what she had said to King, which added to her disappointment. “She wrote back, saying, ‘I’m really sorry, and I don’t remember that.’ I guess she saw me talking about it on Andy Cohen’s show. I remembered it vividly… I had known her for so many years. It made me question whether I could trust this person in my life.”
The incident marks a significant chapter in the once-close friendship between O’Donnell and DeGeneres. While they had shared laughter and success together, this turn of events has left a lasting impact on their relationship.