Actress Rosie O’Donnell, a former regular cohost on ABC’s long-running midday talk show “The View,” took to social media to explain why she chose not to appear in a tribute for the show’s late creator, journalist Barbara Walters.
O’Donnell, who sat at the table from 2006 to 2007, said in a video that she shared on both TikTok and Instagram that she did not want to risk breaking down and getting overly emotional in such a large group of people.
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O’Donnell began the post by touting Walters’ career and life, saying, “Very sad to hear about Barbara Walters passing. Although, 93, man, who wouldn’t take that?”
The “League of Their Own” actress went on to detail some of Walters’ accomplishments as a journalist before turning to their more personal connection.
“What a long and eventful legendary life she had,” she said. “I was lucky enough to be in her orbit for a good many years and we saw a lot of Broadway shows together … May she rest in peace and may everyone remember just what barriers she broke down for women. She really did. She was the first and will always be remembered.”
O’Donnell confirmed that she had been invited to participate in the tribute — which included a number of current and former hosts like Whoopi Goldberg, Sunny Hostin, Lisa Ling, Sherri Shepherd, and Meredith Vieira (who joined the show by phone because she was not feeling well).
And although her publicist had initially stated that she had been traveling and unable to change her plans, O’Donnell suggested that there may have been another reason she preferred not to attend the event.
“You know, I didn’t want to be in a big group of people, and I don’t know, I was worried I would get upset and didn’t want to do that, so, there you go,” O’Donnell said — and a number of friends and fans were quick to support her decision.
Actress and friend Debi Mazar said that she preferred the idea of grieving privately, commenting on O’Donnell’s Instagram post, “Mourning is personal & PRIVATE A display for PR purposes is kind of vulgar, in my opinion. Barbara ADORED you. Remember when she came backstage after your wonderful performance in The Vagina Monologues? She came just for you.”
Walters, who created “The View” in 1997 and participated as a panelist herself until 2014, passed away on Friday at the age of 93.