Why Rosie O’Donnell skipped Barbara Walters tribute

Rosie O’Donnell did not attend Tuesday’s “The View” co-host’s tribute to the late Barbara Walters due to scheduling conflicts.

“She flew back and was unable to attend,” a representative for the “Rosie O’Donnell Show” alumni told Page Six on Tuesday.

“She posted fond memories of her relationship with Barbara.”

After Walters passed away on Dec. 30 at the age of 93, O’Donnell immediately took to her Instagram to honor the iconic journalist.

“What a long and eventful life she’s had,” the “A League of Their Own” star said.

Rosie O'Donnell (Rosie O'Donnell) and Barbara Walters (Barbara Walters) pose for a photo.
Rosie O’Donnell’s rep said she was unable to pay tribute to Barbara Walters on “The View” due to her travel schedule.

“I was lucky enough to be in her orbit for many years and we’ve seen a lot of Broadway shows together… may she rest in peace and may everyone remember what barriers she broke for women. She really did. She was The first and will always be remembered.”

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A spokesperson for “The View” pointed out to TV Line on Tuesday that in addition to her social media posts, they also invited O’Donnell to participate in a live tribute event.

Photo by Barbara Walters "landscape" put.
Walters died on December 30. Her cause of death has not been released.
Disney General Entertainment Conference

On Tuesday’s episode, former and current “The View” co-hosts including Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar and Sunny Hostin paid tribute to the legendary newswoman.

“It was surreal,” Lisa Ling, who was a panelist on “The View” with Walters from 1999 to 2022, said of her time on the show. “I’ve watched Barbara my whole life and now she’s sitting to my left and it’s an incredible feeling.”

Sherri Shepherd, who co-hosted “The View” from 2007 to 2014, added that she felt Walters defended her “violently” on the show.

In a separate segment, “View” veterans Star Jones and Debbie Matenopoulos also recall working with Walters.

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Meredith Vieira, who co-hosted “The View” from 1997 to 2006 and was the show’s first host, dialed in by phone because she was unwell phone.

“She’s sick — that’s why she can’t come here, but she’s a soldier. She’s on the phone,” Behar noted.

Sara Haines added to Vieira: “I know you don’t want to miss out on recognizing Barbara.”

The longtime female journalist went on to credit Walters for being the reason the talk show started, noting, “We got terrible ratings to begin with, but the people at ABC have a lot of respect for Barbara, so they’ve stuck with it and now have a look.”

Elisabeth Hasselbeck was also unable to be in the studio, but called via videoconference to talk about how she sees Walters as her “TV mom” and “mentor.”

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During the show’s run, viewers called for O’Donnell’s absence via social media.

“I know the show is feuding with Rosie O’Donnell but if only they included her today. #theview,” one person tweets.

other wrote“I wish @Rosie would be on @TheView honoring Barbara Walters. #TheView #RosieODonnell.”

Screenshot of Barbara Walters' tribute to Barbara Walters on Instagram.
“I was very lucky to be in her orbit,” O’Donnell said shortly after news of Walters’ death broke.

Some have speculated that the pair’s past rocky relationship may have played a role in O’Donnell’s decision.

However, a representative of the “Smilf” alumni added on Page Six, “Their relationship is not rocky. It was mended many years ago.”

In 2019, it was reported that Walters had threatened to quit “The View” because of his feud with the comedian.

O’Donnell, however, acknowledged her role in the accessible book, “Lady Who Slammed: The Explosive Insider View,” and admitted that she “said some things she shouldn’t have said” to Walters.


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