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Rosie O’Donnell publicly reveals that she was sexually abused by her father: “It started very young”

This just breaks my heart.

Rosie O’Donnell has her detractors but I’ve never been one of them. I think she’s interesting and brave and talented.

In a BuzzFeed News excerpt from the forthcoming book An excerpt from Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of “The View,” Rosie opens up about who sexually abused her as a child:

Rosie was expected to pitch in around the house and care for her younger siblings. But she was dealing with another darkness. As a little girl, Rosie was sexually abused by her father, Edward Joseph. Although she’d identified herself as a victim in her 2002 memoir Find Me, she never publicly named her father as the perpetrator until now.

“It started very young,” Rosie said. “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 who you would tell is the person doing it.”

Here are more excerpt about Rosie’s time as one of the most popular daytime TV talk show hosts:

Rosie was up-front with her colleagues about who she was. “Being gay was never the hardest part of my life,” Rosie said. “My childhood was. This is 1995. Nobody’s out.” She felt a financial responsibility to disclose her sexual orientation to the executives at Telepictures. “I said, ‘I want you to know, before you invest this money in me,” Rosie recalled. “I don’t want you to come to me in three months and go, “Oh my God, the National Enquirer has this thing.”

Rosie had clear guidelines for how she’d talk about her personal life. She never pretended that she was sleeping with men. Even when she discussed her crush on Cruise, she made it clear that she had no sexual interest in him. She’d blush as she described her ultimate fantasy — she wanted him to come over to her house and mow the lawn with his shirt off. “It’s one thing to say that I am,” Rosie told Barber. “It’s another thing to say, ‘I’m not.’ And that I won’t do. If I’m not going to tell my truth, I’m sure as hell not going to tell a lie.”

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DeGeneres came out in 1997, which marked a turning point in the culture. “I remember thinking, ‘Well, she’s going to ruin her whole career,’” Rosie said. “And then she came on my show, and I said, ‘I got to figure out a way to stand next to her so that everybody in the know is going to know I’m not leaving her out there alone.’” Rosie devised a clever exchange, in which DeGeneres revealed the character on her sitcom is Lebanese. (“Maybe I’m Lebanese?” Rosie retorted.) “Every time I’d watch Matt Lauer accuse somebody of sexual impropriety, I thought to myself, ‘You hypocritical fuck,’” Rosie said. “I never wanted to be a hypocritical fuck.”

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