Rosie O’Donnell was sexually abused by her father. She dropped the bombshell in the new book Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View, which was written by Variety’s New York bureau chief Ramin Setoodeh.
The comedian is no stranger to sharing about her dramatic and troubled childhood. When she was only 10-years-old O’Donnell’s mother died from breast cancer. The tragedy had a significant impact on her and fundamentally shaped the rest of her life. During her talk show run, not on The View but on The Rosie O’Donnell Show, the 56-year-old often shared stories from her childhood, which was not a very happy one.
There was one family secret that O’Donnell had kept to herself for years. Her father sexually abused her. She is opening up for the first time about the dark time of her childhood when she endured the abuse. Variety has released an excerpt from the book, where the funny woman gets candid about the abuse.
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“It started very young. And then when my mother died, it sort of ended in a weird way, because then he was with these five children to take care of. On the whole, it’s not something I like to talk about. Of course, it changes everyone. Any child who is put in that position, especially by someone in the family, you feel completely powerless and stuck, because the person you would tell is the person doing it,” she shared with Setoodeh.
Although the actress has often spoken out about her complicated relationship with her father, Edward Joseph O’Donnell, she had never revealed his sexual abuse until now. Instead, she would share how he had his own demons because of his troubled childhood. Edward passed away in 2015.
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Rosie O’Donnell has been a long-time advocate of sexual abuse victims, speaking out against such high-profile abusers like Woody Allen, Bill Cosby, and Roman Polanski. She even touches on how she feels about those men in the book. It is a very personal topic for the comedian, and the reason is a little clearer now.
The book Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View goes on sale April 2nd. Readers will learn more about the abuse O’Donnell suffered from her father, as well as some juicy details regarding what life was like behind the scenes at the ABC daytime talk show.