Why Rosie O’Donnell skipped Barbara Walters tribute on ‘The View’

3 min

106 shares, 167 points

Rosie O’Donnell was not present for “The View” co-hosts’ tribute to the late Barbara Walters on Tuesday due to scheduling conflicts.

“She was flying back and unable to attend,” the “Rosie O’Donnell Show” alum’s rep tells Page Six on Tuesday.

“She has posted wonderful memories of her relationship with Barbara.”

Immediately after Walters passed away on Dec. 30 at age 93, O’Donnell took to her Instagram to commemorate the iconic journalist.

“What a long and eventful legendary life she had,” the “League of Their Own” star 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.”

A spokesperson for “The View” pointed out to TV Line on Tuesday that they extended an invitation for O’Donnell to participate in an on-air tribute aside from her social media post.

A photo of Barbara Walters on "The View" set.
Walters died on Dec. 30. Her cause of death has not yet been revealed.
Disney General Entertainment Con

On Tuesday’s episode, past and present co-hosts of “The View,” including Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar and Sunny Hostin, paid homage to the legendary newswoman.

“It was surreal,” Lisa Ling, who was a panelist on “The View” alongside Walters from 1999 to 2022, said of her time on the show. “I had been watching Barbara all of my life and here she was sitting next to me on my left and it was just an incredible feeling.”

Sherri Shepherd, who was a co-host on “The View” from 2007 to 2014, added that she felt Walters “ferociously” defended her while on the show.

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

Meredith Vieira, who was a co-host on “The View” from 1997 to 2006 and was the show’s first moderator, called in via the phone since she was not feeling well.

“She’s ill — that’s why she can’t be here, but she’s a trooper. She’s on the phone,” Behar pointed out.

Sara Haines added to Vieira, “I know that you didn’t want to miss honoring Barbara.”

The longtime newswoman then went on to credit Walters for being the reason the talk show got off the ground, noting, “We had lousy ratings in the beginning, but there was such respect for Barbara amongst the people at ABC that they kept it going and look at it now.”

Elisabeth Hasselbeck could also not be present in the studio, but called in via video conference and talked about how she considered Walters her “TV mom” and “mentor.”

Viewers took to social media during the show’s airing to call out O’Donnell’s absence.

“I know the show has bad blood with Rosie O’Donnell, but it would’ve been nice if they’d included her today. #theview,” one person tweeted.

Another wrote, “I wish @Rosie was included on the @TheView’s remembrance of Barbara Walters show. #TheView#RosieODonnell.”

A screenshot of Barbara Walters' Instagram tribute to Barbara Walters.
“I was lucky enough to be in her orbit,” O’Donnell said moments after news broke of Walters’ passing.

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

However, the “Smilf” alum’s rep adds to Page Six, “They did NOT have a rocky relationship. It was repaired many years ago.”

In 2019, it was reported that Walters once allegedly threatened to quit “The View” due to her grievances with the comedian.

However, O’Donnell owned up to her part in the alleged feud in the tell-all book, “Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View,” and admitted she “said some things she shouldn’t have” to Walters.

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