Rosie O’Donnell is leaving ABC’s “The View’ for a second time, sources confirm.
She will exit the daytime talkshow next week to concentrate on her family, following a split from wife Michelle Rounds, according to her publicist.
“I can confirm that Rosie and her wife Michelle split in November. Rosie has teens and an infant at home that need her attention,” O’Donnell’s rep, Cindi Berger, said in a statement. “This has been a very stressful situation. She is putting her personal health and family first. ABC has been wonderfully understanding and supportive of her personal decision to leave ‘The View.’ Next week will be her last.”
“The View” has been in a state of turmoil since last May when founding anchor Barbara Walters signed off of the roundtable 11 a.m. talker and Jenny McCarthy and Sherri Shepherd also left the panel. O’Donnell was recruited back to the show, which she co-hosted in the 2006-07 with much turmoil behind the scenes, along with newcomers Rosie Perez and Nicolle Wallace. Whoopi Goldberg, the show’s moderator and only returning member of the panel this season, is said to have butted heads with O’Donnell behind the scenes, as well as on-air.
Sources close to the situation said O’Donnell had been struggling with the stress related to her divorce as well as the pressure on “The View” set. The show’s lineup opened strongly in the ratings in September but viewership quickly tailed off. There has been much discussion at ABC about making further changes or additions among the hosts. Sources close to the situation suggested that O’Donnell decided to jump, citing her personal reasons, before she had to face the prospect of getting pushed.
O’Donnell was caught off-guard, sources say, when she learned last month that Perez was about to be eased out of the show. The plan for Perez to leave “The View” after taking a leave of absence for rehearsals for Larry David’s upcoming Broadway play “Fish in the Dark,” was tabled last month after Variety exclusively reported on her departure.
“No matter what you read anywhere, Rosie Perez is coming back,” O’Donnell said on the program the next day.
But the tension quickly mounted backstage, according to insiders. Perez was a close friend of O’Donnell’s, who said she “read about the (Variety) report last night and went (mouths ‘what the f—?’).”
Senior ABC executives strongly denied the Perez exit strategy ever existed.
With O’Donnell’s departure, ABC gets the chance to experiment again with the mix of personalities around the table. In a statement, ABC sought to put a positive spin on the latest sign of strain at “The View.”
“Rosie is an immensely talented star who comes in each and every morning brimming with ideas, excitement and passion for the show,” ABC said in a statement. “When she told us she wanted to exit ‘The View,’ we respected and understood her desire to put her well-being and her family first. We’re delighted she’s still part of the ABC family with upcoming guest appearances on ‘The Fosters,’ and we know she’ll return to ‘The View’ often with her unique point of view and updates on her work and her family.”