Why Rosie O'Donnell Was Absent From The View's Barbara Walters Tribute

Rosie O’Donnell is sharing why she was absent from “The View’s” tribute to Barbara Walters.

On Tuesday, the comedian — who was a panelist on “The View” from 2006 to 2007 — took to social media to reveal the reason why she wasn’t involved in the on-air tribute.

As shown in a TikTok video, which O’Donnell also posted on Instagram, the talk show host responded to a fan, who wrote, “I looked on you on BW tribute today.”

“Yeah, they invited me, but I wasn’t able to make it,” O’Donnell, 60, told the camera. “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.”

In the comments section of both her TikTok video and Instagram post, the majority of fans expressed that they understood O’Donnell’s reasoning, and respected her decision.

Actress and friend Debi Mazar commented on O’Donnell’s Instagram post, writing, “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.❤️”

Meanwhile, a fan wrote, “Everyone mourns in their own way. I don’t blame you for not going. The dead feel us, they know how we feel in our hearts. xo.”

“I’m glad you were invited…I think your post was a beautiful loving tribute to Barbara. No obligation for you to be there, we all can only do what we are able to do,” a person commented, while another user said, “Everyone grieves differently. People need to respect that. Love ya Ro! ❤️.”

Walters, who created “The View” back in 1997 and appeared on it until 2014, died last Friday at the age of 93.

Per TMZ, she died at home, surrounded by her loved ones, following “several years” of “declining health.”

In the wake of Walters’ passing, the journalism world and Hollywood celebrities alike took to social media to pay tribute, including O’Donnell. The actress shared a photo of the two, simply writing, “legend.” She also posted a TikTok video in which she delivered a heartfelt tribute to Walters.

“Very sad to hear about Barbara Walters passing,” O’Donnell began. “Although 93 man, who wouldn’t take that? What a long and eventful, legendary life she had. Spoke to every prominent world leader in memory, interviewed everyone who was anyone, and I was lucky enough to be in her orbit for a good many years and we saw a lot of Broadway shows together. And whenever we’d go backstage, I’d like try to help her, you know, over the steps and she would always smack my hand away and tell me to leave her alone. She knew what she was doing, I can tell you that.”

O’Donnell added, “May she rest in peace, and may everyone remember what barriers she broke down for women, she really did. She was the first, and will always be remembered.”

On Tuesday, the women of “The View” honored Walters in the show’s first episode back since the legendary journalist’s death.

Several current panelists — including Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar and Sunny Hostin — all paid tribute.

“Tributes are pouting in from around the world to celebrate Barbara Walters and today we’re remembering our friend and colleague,” Goldberg said at the top of the hour. “And the reason why we’re all sitting here, really, if not for her, I don’t know where most of us would be.”

“It’s true. We knew her better than anyone I think. She very much defied sexism and she defied ageism, she went right into the jaws of the lion,” said Behar. “She started ‘The View’ when she was 68 years old. Very few people start a new career at that age. She was the original role model to everybody else. She was one of a kind and really important to the industry.”

Hostin recalled some of her first interactions with Walters after she joined the show, saying she felt a sense of validation when the latter agreed with Hostin’s decision to change her questions to be more in her own voice.

“She started helping me and I thought, my goodness, the generosity of that moment,” she continued, getting a little emotional. “She validated my opinion and after that day she would ask me during the Hot Topics meeting, ‘What do you think, Sunny?’ I was like, ‘Barbara Walters is asking me what I think? Wow.'”

“There was nobody like her,” added Goldberg before a commercial break. “There isn’t anyone like her and like all firsts, she’s the first and there are many of us duplicates, but there will never be another Barbara Walters.”

Also during Tuesday’s episode, the show’s first co-hosts Debbie Matenopoulos, Star Jones, and Meredith Vieira all appeared in person, on Zoom and over the phone, respectively, to emotionally reflect on their relationships with Walters and what they learned from her.

Meanwhile, other former panelists — Lisa Ling, Sherri Shepherd and Elisabeth Hasselbeck — also appeared to honor Walters.

Appearing over Zoom, Hasselbeck said she “didn’t expect waves of grief to come over me like they have with her because I think we all just assumed we’d continue to be able to speak with her, share thoughts with her.”

“She and I had a layered relationship. She was my TV mom, my mentor … she was contagiously, compassionately curious and I love that about her,” she added. “She gave me a chance, she changed my life. The 10 years next to her side and with all of you at different times, enriched my life.”

The show closed out its hour-long tribute to Walters with a highlight reel of Walters’ greatest moments.

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