Star Jones Returns To 'The View' Six Years After Ugly Departure
"Because we loved you, we did lie," Walters told Jones.
Nearly six years ago, TV personality Star Jones abruptly left her cohosting gig on ABC's talk show The View, telling People that her contract had not been renewed for a tenth season. "I feel like I was fired," she said, announcing the decision ahead of a PR-friendly statement concocted and agreed-upon by Barbara Walters and the show's producers.
On Wednesday, in a tense double segment that seemed to awaken old disputes, Jones returned to greet her former colleagues — Walters, Joy Behar and Elisabeth Hasselbeck — as well as Whoopi Goldberg and Sherri Shepherd, who joined the show after Jones' departure, and to promote heart-healthy diet and exercise for women.
Walters, 82, who had said she was "blindsided" by Jones' on-air announcement in 2006, offered kind words to welcome Jones as a guest on the show. "I can say this genuinely: I am so happy to welcome back Star Jones!"
But Jones and Walters got right into the heat of the discussion as they retraced what exactly had happened six years prior. "I take full responsibility for my own behavior, but I won't take responsibility if I did not make a decision I couldn't live with," Jones said. "I made the decision to go out on my own terms, to control it, so that if I was ever invited back, I would feel good about it."
Without saying why, Walters admitted that Jones' contract had not been renewed. (Days after Jones left, it was announced that Rosie O'Donnell, who had publicly criticized Jones for not revealing the truth about her weight loss surgery, would be replacing Meredith Vieira at the table.) "To say we were surprised is putting it mildly," Walters said.
Jones, who lost over 160 pounds after undergoing gastric bypass surgery in 2003, blamed unfortunate timing for what went down. "It was ugly. Everything. It was a bad emotional time. Nasty things were being said in the media," she said.
But Jones' colleagues reminded her that they stood by her during that time. "We tried to protect you. We were told, 'Don't say it was gastric [bypass]. Say it was pilates and portion control,' " Behar said, before joking good-naturedly: "You are now a skinny bitch. Congratulations."
"Because we loved you, we did lie," Walters said.
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