Rosie O'Donnell Says She 'Never Got Over' Ellen DeGeneres' Comment That Hurt Her Feelings

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As a daytime talk show veteran, Rosie O'Donnell may have paved the way for Ellen DeGeneres, but the 60-year-old actress and TV personality never appeared on DeGeneres' long-running talk show. 

DeGeneres, 64, jokingly came out as "Lebanese" on The Rosie O'Donnell Show in 1996 ahead of her character coming out as a lesbian on her own sitcom, Ellen. At the time, O'Donnell hinted that she too was a member of the LGBTQ+ community years before she publicly came out. 

On Thursday's Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen, a fan asked why O'Donnell why she never appeared as a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show

"We had a little bit of a weird thing," O'Donnell told Cohen of DeGeneres. "After my show went off the air and hers was coming on the air, Larry King was on with Ellen and he said, 'Whatever happened to Rosie O'Donnell? Her show went down the tubes. She came out as a lesbian and disappeared!' And Ellen said, and I'm quoting, 'I don't know Rosie. We're not friends.'"

O'Donnell was stunned by the moment, saying, "I was in bed with Kelli [Carpenter, O'Donnell's first wife], and I said, 'Did I just hear that or was that a hallucination, auditory voice in my [head]?' It hurt my feelings, like a baby, and I never really got over it." 

O'Donnell shared that DeGeneres' team asked her "once towards the end" to come on the show. She requested to bring someone with her to make it "a little less awkward," but said the show "didn't want to do that" and so she passed. 

As for her thoughts on the retired daytime comedian, O'Donnell said of DeGeneres, "I wish her all good things in her life and that she should be well, so there you go." 

The Ellen DeGeneres Show ended in May 2022 after 19 seasons on the air. The final years of the show were plagued with allegations by former staffers of a "toxic" workplace environment. 

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