Rosie O'Donnell Detailed Her Falling Out With Ellen DeGeneres, And It's A Lot

Rosie O'Donnell discussed the strain between her and Ellen DeGeneres.

  Amanda Edwards / Getty Images
Amanda Edwards / Getty Images

As you may know, the two have known each other since the '90s, when they were both rising comics. Rosie told the Hollywood Reporter that back then, they had "a good relationship" and "were friends."

rosie talking to jimmy fallon
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She recalled how she would "go to parties" with Ellen, Melissa Etheridge, and k.d. lang, and how she'd even hosted Ellen on an episode of her show, where she'd joked with her about being "Lebanese" before Ellen came out.

rosie at an event
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"We supported each other," she added. "Which is why when she came on my show, I said, 'Let me not have you standing there by yourself. Let’s get a joke in there.' And we sat down and came up with that, 'Oh my God, I love Casey Kasem. Maybe I’m Lebanese.' It became a big thing."

portia, ellen, and rosie posing at an event
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But Rosie says eventually, something in their relationship shifted.

ellen looking back at cameras as portia walks ahead
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"It became a strange, 'There can’t be two lesbians in this town,' kind of a thing," Rosie said. "Then we each had success and went our separate ways."

ellen accepting an award
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Rosie said they remained out of contact until very recently, when Ellen sent her a text. “She texted me a few weeks ago checking in, seeing how I’m doing, and I asked her how she’s surviving not being on TV,” Rosie shared. “It’s a big transition. But we’ve had our weirdness in our relationship. I don’t know if it’s jealousy, competition, or the fact that she said a mean thing about me once that really hurt my feelings.”

closeup of rosie
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Rosie was referencing Ellen's past comments to Larry King that she didn't know Rosie and was not her friend. Rosie told Andy Cohen last year that Ellen had "hurt [her] feelings like a baby," and she "never really got over it."

closeup of rosie
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While Ellen did not address Rosie's comments publicly at the time, Rosie said she apologized for the remarks during their chat. "She wrote, 'I’m really sorry and I don’t remember that,'" Rosie shared. "I guess she saw me talk about it on Andy Cohen’s show. I remembered it so well, I had T-shirts printed and I gave them to my staff that said 'I don’t know Rosie. We’re not friends.'"

closeup of ellen
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Rosie also said: "I have a picture of her holding [my then-infant son] Parker. I know her mother. I could identify her brother without her in the room. I knew her for so many years. It just felt like I don’t trust this person to be in my world."

  Bruce Glikas / Bruce Glikas / FilmMagic
Bruce Glikas / Bruce Glikas / FilmMagic

Ellen has yet to respond to Rosie's latest comments, but in the meantime, you can read the full interview here.