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Rosie O'Donnell: 'The View' departure is for health reasons

Presenter Rosie O'Donnell speaks on stage at the

Presenter Rosie O'Donnell speaks on stage at the 5th Annual Athena Film Festival Ceremony & Reception at Barnard College on February 7, 2015 in New York City. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Mike Coppola

"The View" co-host Rosie O'Donnell says health concerns prompted her surprise announcement Friday that she is leaving the ABC daytime talk show.

"I work out for my heart and my doctors were noticing that there was an uptick in some of my numbers since I started on the show," she told the media on the red carpet Saturday in New York at the Athena Film Festival premiere of the documentary "Rosie O'Donnell: A Heartfelt Standup." "It got a little bit worse right before the holidays, and my doctor was kind of concerned," O'Donnell, 52, originally of Commack, said, "so when I went back after the holiday break, she said to me, 'You know, the stress level is too much.' And I've got a lot going on in my personal life that's kind of stressful."

She added that, "I listen to my doctors when they say, 'We don't know why you're living.' " She also alluded to recent difficulties in her marriage to Michelle Rounds, saying, "I am going through some hard stuff, so I can't really fix those things right away but I can fix this." On Friday O'Donnell's rep confirmed the couple is splitting after a three-year marriage. "Rosie and her wife Michelle split in November," Cindi Berger said in a statement.

"View" co-hosts Whoopi Goldberg, Rosie Perez and Nicolle Wallace did not learn of O'Donnell's coming departure until ABC issued a news release on Friday because, O'Donnell explained, "The View" does not shoot that day. But, she said, "I've heard from everybody since then over the weekend. . . . You know, everybody cares about me and nobody wants to do anything that's going to affect someone's health, right? . . . It's OK. Not everything works out as you plan but you never know what's going to happen tomorrow."

"Rosie is an immensely talented star who comes in each and every morning brimming with ideas, excitement and passion for the show," ABC News said in a statement Friday. "When she told us that she wanted to exit 'The View,' we respected and understood her desire to put her well-being and her family first."

O'Donnell had co-hosted during the 2006-07 season as a replacement to Meredith Vieira. Her tempestuous stint included on- and off-air feuds with fellow co-hosts Star Jones and Elizabeth Hasselbeck, as well as with Kelly Ripa and Donald Trump. She rejoined the show last year for the current season.

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