In an upcoming book about "The View," former co-host Rosie O'Donnell reveals she had feelings for straight fellow panelist Elisabeth Hasselbeck.
"There was a little bit of a crush," the Commack born-and-raised O'Donnell, 57, says in Variety's excerpts from "Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of 'The View,' " by the trade magazine's New York bureau chief, Ramin Setoodeh. "But not that I wanted to kiss her," she clarifies. "I wanted to support, raise, elevate her, like she was the freshman star shortstop and I was the captain of the team."
Turning to a basketball-mentoring metaphor, "I was going to Scottie Pippen her," O'Donnell recalls. "If I was [Michael] Jordan, I was going to give her and the ball and let her shoot. But it was in no way sexualized."
O'Donnell, a panelist in two season-long stints from 2006 to 2007 and 2014 to 2015, overlapped with longtime panelist Hasselbeck during the former. Hasselbeck, 41, a contestant on the 2001 Australian Outback edition of "Survivor," appeared on "The View" from 2003 to 2013.
While the liberal O'Donnell and conservative Hasselbeck often were at odds on the ABC daytime discussion show, "I loved her," O'Donnell insists, adding, "Here's what I said, 'I'm the senior. She's the freshman. I've got a really good player on the freshman team, but I have to teach her how to loosen up.' "
In different excerpts published by Vanity Fair, Setoodeh says Hasselbeck and O'Donnell were close work friends, with producer Alexandra Cohen saying she and fellow producer Bill Geddie were "both shaking our heads when Rosie and Elisabeth decided to go together to buy the staff Christmas presents. They did it as a team, like, 'We're buddies.' Are you serious?"
Nevertheless, the author says in Variety's excerpts, the two hosts fell out when Hasselbeck would not defend O'Donnell from conservative critics. "It felt like a lover breaking up," O'Donnell says. "The fight that we had, to me as a gay woman, it felt like this: 'You don't love me as much as I love you.' 'I've taken care of you.' 'You have not.' 'How could you do that to me?' 'I didn't do anything to you.' "
Neither O'Donnell nor Hasselbeck has commented on social media about the book excerpts. "Ladies Who Punch" is scheduled for release April 2.