Rosie O’Donnell suggested that the end of The Ellen DeGeneres Show was ‘complicated’ amid claims that the comedienne had allowed a toxic workplace to develop.
The 59-year-old actress and former talk show host opined Wednesday on Sirius XM’s The Jess Cagle Show that Ellen’s departure was likely about more than the recent controversy.
The former actress also recounted how she was labeled the ‘Queen of Nice’ while hosting The Rosie O’Donnell Show and how she came to be mocked for the title.
More to it: Rosie O’Donnell, 59, said Wednesday on The Jess Cagle Show that Ellen Degeneres’ departure from her talk show was more ‘complicated’ than being punishment for being the ‘”be kind” lady’
Rosie said of Ellen ending her show: ‘It was a lot of things, and it was complicated, and I’m glad that she’s, you know, going to be finished and she can get some time to herself.’
The conversation began when Cagle brought up Ellen’s monologue from September’s season premiere when she complained about being held to a higher standard because of her cheery demeanor on television.
‘Being known as the “be kind” lady is a tricky position to be in. So let me give you some advice out there. If anybody is thinking of changing their title or giving yourself a nickname, do not go with the “be kind” lady. Don’t do it,’ she said at the time.
Cagle said the statement reminded him of Rosie’s eponymous talk show from the late 1990s and early 2000s, when critics dubbed her the ‘Queen of Nice,’ and wondered if it had similarly hurt her career.
‘I don’t think it was the “be kind” thing that got her,’ Rosie said. ‘I think that’s an oversimplification. But it was a lot of things, and it was complicated, and I’m glad that she’s, you know, going to be finished and she can get some time to herself.’
High expectations: ‘Being known as the “be kind” lady is a tricky position to be in,’ Ellen, 63, said on her September season opener amid a toxic workplace scandal; seen in 2016 in Hollywood
More to the story: ‘I don’t think it was the “be kind” thing that got her,’ Rosie said. ‘I think that’s an oversimplification’
She suggested that the 63-year-old Finding Dory star might be tired of all the ‘attention’ she got for her popular talk show.
‘It’s a huge kind of strange thing to be on a show like that, and have all that attention on you,’ she continued. ‘And she had it for like 19 years. So, you know, it’s a tough thing.’
Ellen announced last month that her long-running talk show would end in 2022 after 19 seasons on the air.
‘The truth is, I always trust my instincts,’ DeGeneres said when she shared the news on her show. ‘My instinct told me it’s time.’
She also claimed to have chosen the end date two years earlier when she signed her final contract for The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Time to herself: She suggested that the 63-year-old Finding Dory star might be tired of all the ‘attention’ she got for her popular talk show
Bad start: Rosie also remembered being labeled the ‘Queen of Nice.’ ‘[In] a couple of years, it’s going to be the Queen of Lice, the Queen of Fried Rice, you know, the Queen of We Don’t Like Her Anymore’
Inspired by Ellen’s monologue, Cagle wondered if the ‘Queen of Nice’ designation had harmed Rosie’s own career.
‘Not in the way that Ellen’s talking about, I think,’ she replied. ‘But you know, I said the day it came out, “Look at this, the Queen of Nice. And [in] a couple of years, it’s going to be the Queen of Lice, the Queen of Fried Rice, you know, the Queen of We Don’t Like Her Anymore.”‘
She added that other entertainers don’t always know ‘when enough is enough,’ but she felt like The Rosie O’Donnell show ended at an ideal time, giving her a ‘good balance.’
‘And it’s hard to maintain. It’s hard to do, especially when you’re doing a show like that,’ she said.
Tommy boy: Rosie also shared that she’s still friends with Tom Cruise, who has ‘never forgotten [her] birthday,’ though they don’t talk about Scientology; pictured 1996
Elsewhere in the interview, Rosie shared that she’s still friends with Tom Cruise, who was part of a running joke on her talk show.
‘Every year, I think what a classy guy he is that he never has forgotten my birthday. A lot of people say to me, “It’s just his secretary,” but I don’t believe that. I think he knows in early March, “Oh, it’s Rosie’s birthday coming up,” and he sends me something every single year for 25 years.’
She added, ‘I love Tom Cruise and I will always love Tom Cruise,’ though she admitted that they steer clear of more controversial subjects, like his belief in Scientology.
‘I do not understand, uh, you know, the Scientology religion. I think it’s a, a cult and it’s scary. And I think Leah [Remini] is a hero for doing what she’s done.’