Rosie O’Donnell claims she is leaving “The View” because co-hosting the daily talk show damaged her health and caused her enormous stress. Rosie, who recently lost more than 53 pounds after gastric sleeve weight loss surgery, said she needed to leave “The View” to focus on her health and denied she had been feuding with her co-stars.
“My doctors were noticing that there was an uptick in my numbers since I started on the show,” O’Donnell told People. “It got a little bit worse right before the holidays, and my doctor was kind of concerned, so when I went back after the holiday break, she said to me, ‘You know, the stress level is too much.'”
Rosie, who recently separated from wife Michelle Rounds, said her marital problems exacerbated the stress she felt, so something had to give.
“I’ve had a lot going on in my personal life that’s been very stressful,” said O’Donnell. “I have five kids, four of them teenagers. Michelle and I are going through some hard stuff, and I can’t really fix those things right away, but I can fix this.”
Got Gastric Sleeve Surgery in 2012 After Massive Heart Attack
O’Donnell, 52, underwent vertical gastric sleeve surgery in 2012 shortly after suffering a near-fatal heart attack. “When you have a heart attack and almost die, it kind of puts things in perspective instantly, and it did for me,” she said. “I was morbidly obese.”
O’Donnell overhauled her lifestyle completely after her weight loss: She stopped drinking alcohol and started meditating twice a day. Before her weight loss surgery, Rosie had high cholesterol, high blood pressure and pre-diabetes. Rosie, who was pre-diabetic before her gastric sleeve surgery now tries to follow a low-carb, sugar-free diet.
In gastric sleeve surgery, about 80 percent of the stomach is removed to create a small sleeve-shaped stomach, about the size of a banana. Other celebrities who had lost weight after weight loss surgery include Roseanne Barr and “MasterChef” star Graham Elliott, who lost 150 pounds after gastric sleeve surgery, Celebrity Health reported.
Despite her dramatic weight loss, O’Donnell said she still feels big and thinks she may have body dysmorphic disorder. Adjusting to her smaller size will take some time, said Rosie, who also revealed her longtime struggle with depression.
Rosie: I’ve Struggled With Depression Since Childhood
O’Donnell said the 1999 Columbine High School massacre threw her into a deep, debilitating depression. After seeing the horrific news coverage of the senseless tragedy, O’Donnell started taking antidepressants, including Prozac and Effexor.
Rosie said she’s better now and is off the medication but could not have recovered without antidepressants. “I’m pretty much on nothing now,” she said. “I’m calmer.”
O’Donnell previously revealed she suffered from depression as a child and said it runs in her family. Rosie’s aunt suffered from severe depression and attempted suicide before taking lithium.
O’Donnell said her aunt would have benefited from some of the new antidepressants around today. Rosie resisted taking antidepressants for a long time, thinking it was cowardly, but is glad she did because they helped her tremendously.
Rosie returned to “The View” in September 2014 after leaving show in 2007 following rumored fallouts with then co-stars Elisabeth Hasselbeck and boss Barbara Walters. Recently, there were widespread rumors O’Donnell had been fighting with co-host Whoopi Goldberg, but she vehemently denied those reports.
Update: Rosie discusses 53-pound weight loss on Dr. Oz Show