Rosie O'Donnell said she had "a little bit of a crush" on Elisabeth Hasselbeck — her conservative, Christian co-host on "The View" back in the day — and that she believes "there were underlying lesbian undertones on both parts," Variety reported.
'I loved her'
O'Donnell aired her perspective on Hasselbeck in "Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of 'The View'" by Variety's Ramin Setoodeh, the outlet said. The book, which releases April 2, noted the famous May 2007 fight between the polar-opposite pair — but O'Donnell insisted that "I loved her," Variety added.
An excerpt from the book's chapter, "My Mouth Is a Weapon" — which details that 10-minute on-air fight and O'Donnell leaving the show — is slated to appear in this week's print edition of Variety, the magazine said.
O'Donnell said in the book she initially tried to give advice to Hasselbeck on how to debate on TV, Variety note: "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.'"
'Underlying lesbian undertones on both parts'
Fellow co-host Joy Behar believed O'Donnell had a crush on Hasselbeck, Variety said, and O'Donnell confirmed it in the book.
"I think there were underlying lesbian undertones on both parts," O'Donnell said regarding her working relationship with Hasselbeck, the outlet noted.
Why? Well, softball, of course!
"I think this is something that will hurt her if you write it," O'Donnell said of Hasselbeck, according to Variety. "She was the MVP of a Division 1 softball team for two years that won the finals. There are not many, in my life, girls with such athletic talent on sports teams that are traditionally male that aren't at least a little bit gay."
Even Variety called out O'Donnell's "dubious evidence" for her blatantly stereotypical claim.
More from the outlet:
Although O'Donnell was attracted to Hasselbeck, she never wanted to act on it. "There was a little bit of a crush," O'Donnell says in the book. "But not that I wanted to kiss her. I wanted to support, raise, elevate her, like she was the freshman star shortstop and I was the captain of the team." O'Donnell changed sports metaphors from baseball to basketball. "I was going to Scottie Pippen her. If I was Jordan, I was going to give her and the ball and let her shoot. But it was in no way sexualized."
O'Donnell said that she was deeply hurt by Hasselbeck, and their fight on TV was about more than just politics. The final straw was when Hasselbeck wouldn't defend O'Donnell from conservative critics. "It felt like a lover breaking up," O'Donnell says about her last day on TV with Hasselbeck. "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.'"
It just so happens that Hasselbeck is scheduled to appear on Tuesday's edition of "The View." No word yet if Behar plans to bring up O'Donnell's claims from "Ladies Who Punch."
Fox News said representatives for O'Donnell and Hasselbeck didn't immediately return requests for comment on their working relationship.
This story has been updated.