Rosie O'Donnell's spokeswoman, Cindi Berger, has responded to a highly critical interview the comedian's estranged daughter has given, telling Newsday it was "heartbreaking on every level."
Chelsea O'Donnell -- who was the subject of a missing-person investigation for a day before being found safe in New Jersey on Aug. 18 and returned home to Nyack -- said in an interview with the British newspaper the Daily Mail that she had not run away but that her adoptive mother had thrown her out of the house.
"She told me to leave and take my dog," Chelsea O'Donnell, who turned 18 on Aug. 24, told the paper. "Rosie said that I was almost 18," and that the former "View" host had problems at work, "and she didn't want to have to deal with that at home too."
The teen said she went to live with her boyfriend, Steve Sheerer, 25, in Barnegat Township, New Jersey. After police returned her home, she said, Rosie "had two of my bags packed with clothes. Literally 10 minutes after the police had dropped me off at the house, I got in a car and went to a friend's house."
Chelsea, one of 53-year-old Commack native Rosie O'Donnell's five children, complained her adoptive mother was "not genuine a lot of the time," saying: "She has this public persona; she will put this big smile on her face and try to be funny. . . . She had this happy, friendly side to her. Whereas when we were home, even if it was on the same day, she would either just be in her room, not engaging with us, or watching documentaries."
Rosie O'Donnell, while not addressing the interview directly, has pinned a Sept. 24 tweet of photos of "my children" at the top of her Twitter page. On Wednesday, she tweeted a quote from the title character of the 1942 children's-book classic "The Runaway Bunny" by author Margaret Wise Brown. O'Donnell also tweeted lyrics from the song "Hurricane" in the Broadway musical "Hamilton": "In the eye of a hurricane there is quiet for just a moment, a yellow sky."
Chelsea O'Donnell in her interview also responded to her adoptive mother's statement in August that Chelsea had "stopped taking her medicine," followed by the comedian's spokeswoman saying this referred to a mental health condition. "I wouldn't say I'm mentally ill -- I would say lots of people struggle with what I have," Chelsea told the paper, explaining separately that, "Since I was 12, I've struggled with depression and anxiety. It started when Rosie and Kelli [Carpenter, the comedian's former wife] got divorced. It was very upsetting to me and I think I took it harder than the rest of my siblings."
Chelsea and Rosie O'Donnell's relationship began deteriorating then, said the teen, who upon turning 18 stayed with her birth mother, Deanna Micoley, in Wisconsin for a week before moving in with Sheerer and his family.