Star Jones Fires Back on Walters' Comments

Jones says Walters' admissions on "Oprah" are "sad" and "humiliating."

May 7, 2008 — -- Star Jones struck back at Barbara Walters after the veteran newswoman's buzz-worthy appearance on Tuesday's "Oprah" show.

"It is a sad day when an icon like Barbara Walters, in the sunset of her life, is reduced to publicly branding herself as an adulterer, humiliating an innocent family with accounts of her illicit affair and speaking negatively against me all for the sake of selling a book," Jones told Us Magazine. "It speaks to her true character."

On Tuesday's "Oprah," Walters told her version of what happened with Jones' departure from "The View," how she feels about Rosie O'Donnell and what went on between her and a married senator during the 1970s.

Walters told Winfrey that she knew about Jones' gastric bypass surgery long before "The View" co-host admitted it to the public, but she and the rest of "The View" women lied to keep it a secret because Jones didn't want to talk about it.

"She decided to have a gastric bypass operation, but then she decided not to tell anybody," Walters said on "Oprah." "Then we had to lie on the set every day because she said it was portion control and Pilates. Well, we knew it wasn't portion control and Pilates."

On June 27, 2006, Jones told People magazine she would be leaving Walters' talk show because her contract wasn't renewed, saying, "I feel like I was fired." The next day, Walters said she was blindsided by Jones' announcement and effective immediately, Jones would no longer appear on "The View."

Walters also dished about former "View" moderator Rosie O'Donnell's infamous shouting match with Elisabeth Hasselbeck in May 2007. The two got into a heated on-air debate about the Iraq War that prompted O'Donnell's premature departure from the show.

Walters said she was at home during the on-air spat, "saying, 'Go to commercial, Go to commercial!'" But Walters said that she didn't regret having O'Donnell on the show and still respects her tremendously.

Later in the show, Walters opened up about her 1970s affair with married U.S. Sen. Edward Brooke, the first African-American to be popularly elected to the Senate. During the years of their affair, Walters was a co-host of NBC's "Today" show. The couple agreed to keep their relationship a secret for fear that public knowledge of it would ruin their careers. Their tryst ended before Brooke lost his bid for a third term in 1978.

"He was a wonderful man and a wonderful senator. … I have always felt that I perhaps ruined his future," Walters told Winfrey. "I regret that he didn't get re-elected. So if you ask me if I regret it, yes."

Walters had never spoken publicly of the affair before she talked about it on "Oprah." She was on Winfrey's show to promote her autobiography, "Audition: A Memoir," in bookstores today.

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