[In the picture: Kelli Carpenter-O'Donnell and Rosie O'Donnell]
This revelation, as well as many about her experiences on "The View" last year, is contained in a new book she’s written due shortly called “Celebrity Detox.”
This personal memory, so shocking, is almost thrown toward the end of what is better described as a long essay than a short memoir.
All the proceeds from “Celebrity Detox” are going to Rosie’s charity, by the way. So it’s not like she’s putting her most painful personal memories on sale for self-aggrandizement.
But reading this passage is heart-breaking. Rosie, who lost her mother at age 10, felt she couldn’t get attention or sympathy otherwise.
She broke her own bones, she recalls, “my hands and fingers usually. No one knew. It was a secret.” She used a Mets baseball bat she got on bat day or the hanger. Why? It was “proof I had some value, enough to be fixed.” She recalls that she was no longer sad about her mother’s death, but “distracted.”
Rosie also dangles another clue about her childhood in two sentences. “There were many benefits to having a cast. In the middle of the night, it was a weapon.”
Why she would need a weapon in the middle of the night is not addressed.
Most of “Celebrity Detox,” which a source supplied to me Tuesday, is about Rosie’s life — her mother, her kids, her life before and after "The View."
And a good part of it deals with her rocky relationship with Barbara Walters. O’Donnell chronicles the year she spent with Walters in some unsparing details.
And while there are substantial revelations of their constant warring, Rosie also concludes that she and Barbara are on better terms now.
But that’s not how it was while they were stuck together in front of cameras and an audience. She writes about her observations of Walters’ aging, her “tiredness,” she says, at age 77.
She recalls a shouting match backstage in which she called Walters a “liar” over and over for not defending her when Donald Trump came on the attack. She calls Trump a “gelatinous … slug.”
O’Donnell recalls several startling moments with Walters, who she says came to resent her quickly after Rosie joined "The View."
“During the commercial, people scream ‘I love you Rosie,’” O’Donnell writes. “And Barbara tells them in a schoolteacher tone, ‘It is impolite to say I love you to one person when there are four of us up here.’ Then a stony silence sets in.”
"Celebrity Detox" is a slim volume, be warned. A lot is left out. My reading of it is that O’Donnell wanted to make a more formal statement of what happened to her during this ignominious year. But it also contains her take on celebrity and fame and how they affected her family life.
“As I slipped back into celebrity land,” Rosie writes of her return to daytime TV, “the tasks multiplied a thousandfold, and the letters addressed to me but having nothing to do with the real me — the mother me, the married me, the friend me — the letters addressed to the celebrity me began to pour in again. … I had gone four years living alone and now my mailbox was overflowing and people were telling me I was fantastic, the funniest, the happiest, the brightest....
“How best to explain this? It is a shift that happens in the head and that very few celebrities will ever really speak about. … One begins to believe in the specialness, and a dangerous sense of entitlement takes over. … When celebrity addiction starts, you become impatient with, and even angry at necessary obstacles. You think could run a red light or two. And then you do.”
“Celebrity Detox” — a brave little book by a brave woman, I think. Bravo!