Yesterday afternoon, Oprah sat down with Rosie O’Donnell on The Oprah Winfrey Show and asked her about the past two years, where she has largely been absent from the public eye. The two chatted about Rosie’s divorce, her new girlfriend, and her new media ventures. It has been 13 years since Rosie last appeared on Oprah, and she was a bit anxious.
“Why are you nervous?” asked Oprah.
“Because it’s you!” replied Rosie.
For the past two years, Rosie told Oprah that she sat at home trying to figure out the next chapter of her life — how to balance real life and her public life. She separated from her wife Kelli Carpenter in 2007, and she was quick to note that they did not get a legal divorce, because they were married in the first group of San Francisco same sex weddings in 2004, which were eventually annulled.
Rosie then gave her theory on why lesbians tend to remain close with their exes. “It sounds maybe a little bit elitist, and I’m not trying to say it’s better. I just think it’s a different paradigm,” she says. “[For] women, usually in relationships, the emotional connection is really the most intense, and so when they break up, I have found they stay connected. Every woman that I have ever been with, besides one, is still in my life.” She told Oprah that Kelli still lives nearby, close enough for the kids to split time between the two easily.
Since there have only a handful high profile lesbian couples in the last decade, Rosie admitted that she felt pressure to make her marriage with Kelli work in order to set an example. She recalled that when Melissa Etheridge and Julie Cypher split, she phoned Melissa Etheridge and nudged her to reconsider.
“I remember when Melissa [Etheridge] and Julie broke up, I called Melissa and said: ‘Come on. There’s so few,’” Rosie says. “And she said, ‘Ro, your first goal in life is to be true to yourself, and your children will look at you and know when you’re living an authentic life.’”
Rosie then discussed her battles with Elizabeth Hasselbeck and Donald Trump, which became tabloid fodder. She said she quit The View, because she did not want to argue for a living and the producers seemed to want to pit her against Hasselbeck and vice versa. She discussed her blow-up against Barbara Walters for not giving her emotional support in the Donald Trump spat and said that she regrets it. Both Oprah and Rosie agreed that Barbara Walters is basically “the queen,” and it is unlikely that anyone has talked to her like that in decades. Rosie said that if she had been braver she would have cried instead of screaming at her, because it is braver to be vulnerable than to resort to expressing anger.
Then Oprah moved onto the subject of Rosie’s new girlfriend, artist Tracy Kachtick-Anders. Rosie met Tracy through her blog, when Tracy e-mailed her asking if she wanted to trade art. Eventually, they started to e-mail back and forth, although the e-mails were not flirtatious in nature. Rosie eventually invited Tracy to Miami, not having met her in real life, but when Tracy got out of the car, as Rosie puts it, “It was like ‘Zoinks!’” Tracy has several adopted children, and Rosie said that she intends to blend the families together.
Oprah then asked her one thing she’s never revealed about herself, and Rosie responded that she generally overshares, so there really isn’t anything that she hasn’t revealed. She did say, however, that the most difficult thing she revealed in her memoir Celebrity Detox was that she used to self injure as a child. After discussing the reasons why she and other young people self-injure she lightened up the mood by revealing her secret of the moment: “I am not wearing underpants.”
As to new media ventures, Rosie currently has a radio show on Sirius XM called Rosie Radio, which she broadcasts from her guest house, and she produced a film called A Family is a Family is a Family: A Rosie O’Donnell Celebration, a documentary that showcases a diverse set of families, including her own. The documentary will premiere Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. EST on HBO.
The show concluded with a giveaway, in which all audience members received new satellite radios. After all, if both Rosie and Oprah are on stage at the same time, a giveaway is pretty much a sure bet.
What did you think about Rosie’s comments on her break-up with Kelli? Were you surprised Oprah didn’t ask her about the “Gayle and Oprah are gay lovers” statements she’s made?