Barbara Walters' Relationship With Other Hosts Of The View Explained

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Throughout her decades-long broadcasting career, Barbara Walters symbolized two things. To journalism enthusiasts such as media mogul Oprah Winfrey, Walters was a trendsetter, without whom many careers wouldn't have begun. "I did my very first television audition with her in mind the whole time," Winfrey shared via Instagram, upon the announcement of Walters' passing. To her audience, she'd handle controversial topics other hosts would tiptoe around — such as the Kardashians possessing no known talent — by maintaining a poised demeanor that made light of the moment. 

Walters grew up in the entertainment industry. Her father, Lou Walters, was a booking agent and a nightclub producer. Having a star-studded childhood taught Walters to humanize public figures. "I learned from seeing celebrities that they could bleed, that they had a dark side, That they had children they didn't see...or divorces or lack of relationship," she said on "20/20." Her upbringing gave her a different perspective, which allowed Walters to interview who's who, and establish enough longevity to birth her own brainchild: "The View."

In a conversation with the Emmys' Archive of American Television, Walters revealed that she simply wanted to bring women together, each with their own unique personality and background, "What mattered is these four wonderful women and their relationship and their chemistry," she said. 24 co-hosts later, including Walters herself, here's the relationship she shared with select "The View" co-hosts.

Joy Behar almost got fired for an accidental leak

When Joy Behar was introduced as part of the original panel of "The View," she was 54 years old. Her role at the time, according to Ramin Setoodeh's "Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of 'The View,'" was to tone down serious talk with light humor. A straight-talker, who became as powerful on television as she was in stand-up, Behar was shown the exit in 2013. "I was glad to be fired," she told Time. She eventually returned, but it wasn't the first time Behar clashed with the showrunners.

Back in 2006, Behar narrowly missed being jobless as she recounted in a conversation with former host Meredith Vieira on "Behind the Table." "Remember she fired me in L.A?" Behar asked. "When I spilled the beans that Rosie O'Donnell was coming on, and she swore us to secrecy?"

Of course, Behar's colleagues knew she was in trouble. Behar continued, "[Walters] said, 'Oh you wanna hear this story? I've just got a call from Entertainment Tonight saying that someone told them that Rosie O'Donnell is coming on the show. And do you know who that person was?”" Although Behar tried to pin the blame on Vieira, Walters didn't buy it. Luckily, Behar kept her job, and is the show's longest-running co-host.

Whoopi Goldberg connected with her right away

Whoopi Goldberg and Barbara Walters first crossed paths when the former appeared on "The Barbara Walters Special" in 1991. As Goldberg shared with her "The View" co-hosts following Walters' death, she specifically remembered talking about being a parent with the venerated host. "She asked me a question about, you know, what was it like to be a mother doing it and I said I always feel bad because, you know, an opportunity came to me," said Goldberg. "And if I'd been a great mother, I would have said, 'Okay opportunity, just stay there and let me raise my kid and I'll come back and find you.'" 

Though they connected on the struggles that come with being a parent while pursuing a career in show business, Goldberg and Walters wouldn't see eye to eye. For example, Goldberg strongly opposed a potential soda ban suggested by former New York City governor Michael Bloomberg, while Walters was for the idea.

Goldberg had profound respect for Walters, one which showed itself during Walters' 2014 retirement. "I think it might be very difficult to make that decision when you're still feeling viable and everything, to move away from it," Goldberg opined on an episode of "The Wendy Williams Show." The moment, she said, was a bittersweet affair.

She attended Broadway shows with Rosie O'Donnell

In her tribute to Barbara Walters, shared via Instagram, comedian Rosie O'Donnell revealed that she and Walters would hit Broadway together. "And whenever we'd go backstage, I'd, like, try to help her, you know, over the steps backstage, and she would always smack my hand and tell me to leave her alone," O'Donnell remembered.

O'Donnell cited that she was lucky to have known Walters for as long as she did. Not that the pair didn't have explosive moments. According to Ramin Setoodeh's account on "Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of 'The View'" (via Vanity Fair), Walters and O'Donnell famously butted heads when the latter began to feuded with Donald Trump. As the drama with Trump escalated, O'Donnell felt Walters was not on her side. It all came to a head with a backstage shouting match between O'Donnell and Walters. As producer Bill Geddie recalled, at one point O'Donnell even made a harsh remark about Walters' relationship with her daughter. "I can't tell you everything [O'Donnell] said, but it was nasty. And she does it for about 40 seconds, maybe a minute," Geddie said. "I finally said, 'Enough. You can't talk to her anymore like this.'" It took a little time, but O'Donnell and Walters eventually made nice.

Barbara Walters had work-life balance advice for Lisa Ling

America was introduced to Lisa Ling as a "The View" panelist when she was only 26 years old. Ling had a three-year run that ended in 2002. As she shared on the show's 25th anniversary special "Behind the Table," Barbara Walters offered her an invaluable nugget of wisdom: "Whatever you do, don't neglect your personal life."

There's no question Walters worked hard to get where she got, but as she shared in the 2014 ABC News special "Barbara Walters: Her Story," she later came to regret making work such a priority. "I know what she sacrificed. I know how hard it was to have a personal life and also fight those battles in a misogynistic, a grossly misogynistic culture," Ling remarked.

During a special episode celebrating Walters' legacy on "The View," Lisa Ling went on to detail an early lunch with Walters that eventually led her to work on her relationship with her family. "We were sitting there, and she's looking straight at me and starting to ask me about intimate details of my personal life," Ling said. "And I'm telling you, when she started asking me about my mum, I was just...wailing."

Sherri Shepherd felt protective of the legend

Barbara Walters led with an iron fist. Disputes on "The View" were therefore inevitable. For Sherri Shepherd, who left the show in 2014, there were a lot of tears shed. As she stated in a Sirius XM interview, "I cried for three years. But don't get me wrong. It was the best experience that I've ever had." Walters encouraged Shepherd to develop a low-pitched tone on air.

Shepherd felt protected by Walters, and vice versa. As she shared on "The View" following Walters' death, there was one guest in particular who barely watched her words in a conversation with Walters — and Shepherd did not appreciate it. "Remember when Ann Coulter came on the show? And I just was mad 'cause she was talking to Barbara. I didn't like the way she was talking to Barbara. And I was like, 'You [are] not gonna talk to Barbara like that. I will whoop know." The need to come to Walters' defense, she said, stemmed from the fact that Walters would also return the favor when the tables turned.

Debbie Matenopoulos learned a lot from Barbara Walters

Debbie Matenopoulos was one of the show's pioneering co-hosts with her own segment dubbed "Dare Debbie." Matenopoulos stepped into the scene at the age of 22. And while she didn't make it past the show's second season, that's not to say she didn't connect with the lead host. In a "Behind the Table" chat, Joy Behar remembered how Barbara Walters gravitated toward Matenopoulos. "One of the reasons she liked you was because you imitated your Greek mother. She was obsessed with that," said Behar.

Matenopoulos noted that the show's writers had noticed a pattern in how she interacted with Walters. "She wanted me to be this 22-year-old, like, with my finger on the pulse of pop culture. She would hit me under the table and I would stop talking in the middle of a sentence on live television!" Matenopoulos' freezing didn't necessarily go over well with audiences. Although she was offended at first, she was grateful for the platform she'd been given. "I was, like, honored because two months earlier no one even knew my name," she said.

After the news of Walters' passing broke, Matenopoulos told Access Hollywood, "A lot of people saw what Barbara is and what she's accomplished and how she's paved the way ... but beyond that, she was really funny, and she was really warm, and she was really generous with her time and her wisdom."

Star Jones had a war of words with Barbara Walters

In a 2006 conversation with People, Star Jones revealed that she had a hunch that she was fired from "The View." She further made an on-air announcement that she wouldn't be returning in the coming fall, which was true, except Barbara Walters and other executives were blindsided. "We didn't expect her to make the statement yesterday. She gave us no warning, and we were taken by surprise," Walters noted on "The View."

Walters told The New York Times that Jones' departure was long overdue. "It was things she did off the air. The audience was losing trust in her. They didn't believe some of the things she said," Walters remarked.

In a 2008 interview with Essence (via People), Jones confirmed that two years on, there was no love lost between her and her former co-hosts. "Those girls were hateful," she told the publication. Upon the announcement of Walters' death, Jones took to Twitter to pay homage to her former co-host, writing in part, "I owe Barbara Walters more than I could ever repay."

Barbara Walters tried to help Elisabeth Hasselbeck

In 2006, Elisabeth Hasselbeck tried to quit "The View" during a commercial break, per Variety. During a passionate on-screen exchange in which Hasselbeck was against a proposed over-the-counter use of the morning-after pill, Barbara Walters tried to take control of the situation. "Elisabeth, come down dear," the TV veteran pleaded. "I think the most important thing, which is what we see today, is we've got to be able to have these discussions and listen to other people's opinions."

Hasselbeck seemed to be in agreement, but the heat went up a notch higher. In an exclusive audio obtained by Variety, Hasselbeck says," What the f**k! I don't even swear. She [Walters] has me swearing. This woman is driving me nuts...I can't go back. I can't do the show like this." 

It took the effort of "The View" executive producer Bill Geddie to bring her on board, and she stayed until 2013. In her reflection on her 10-year run on "The View," Hasselbeck said of Walters, "She and I had a layered relationship. She was my TV mom, my mentor like she is to all of you."

Jenny McCarthy compared the icon to Mommie Dearest

When chatting with Ramin Setoodeh for "Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of 'The View'" (via Vulture), Jenny McCarthy summed up her experience on "The View" rather succinctly: "You know the movie 'Mommie Dearest?'" I've never seen a woman yell like that before until I worked with Barbara Walters." 

According to McCarthy, co-hosting "The View" was a long and painful year. For one thing, Walters was apparently critical of McCarthy's wardrobe and would sometimes ask her to change right before showtime. What's more, according to McCarthy, Walters apparently would see what McCarthy was wearing and then seek out that very outfit for herself. "When I'd hear the shuffle of her feet, I knew that Barbara was after me. It would get faster. Oh my God — she's coming!" McCarthy revealed. "Based on the speed of the shuffle, I would hide or get on the phone."

On "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen," McCarthy disclosed that, in spite of their ups and downs, she had an adoration for her that didn't make the headlines. In an Instagram post, shared when the news that Walters had died broke, McCarthy wrote in part: "My Dear Barbara, Thank you for your love, guidance, support, nurturing and for making a seat for me at "the table". Your impact on the world is immeasurable. Your impact on me will never be forgotten."

Michelle Collins' memorable first lunch with Barbara Walters

When Michelle Collins got on "The View" in 2015, she was over the moon. In an on-set interview with E! News, Collins gushed over her new job. "Of course I'm excited," she delightedly told the channel. "This is like... dream come true. It's Amazing!" Collins was a longtime fan of "The View," and she and would-be co-host Joy Behar had crossed paths before on other projects. "It would be a gift to fill half her shoe, she's the best," Collins said of Behar. 

Though she was cut from the series only the next year, Collins has a number of memories from her time on "The View" — many of which she's shared on her SiriusXM radio show, her podcast, and social media. One memory that understandably stuck with her? Her first meal with Barbara Walters. "One of the first rites of passage of becoming a host on @TheView was to have lunch with Barbara Walters," Collins tweeted in the wake of the series creator's death. "Few times in my life have I been that nervous." In that same post, she continued, "She was an absolute trailblazer, class, elegance, smarts that are increasingly hard to come by. I'll always be grateful." The duo seemed to get along well, given a backstage picture Collins posted on Twitter with a caption that partially read: "Our energies summed up quite nicely here."

Barbara Walters' priceless piece of advice to Sunny Hostin

On Sunny Hostin's 51st birthday, she marveled at the accomplishments she'd achieved so far in life. With a memoir and a fiction series on the way, Hostin's humble past was yesterday's news. "I'm blessed," the lawyer turned TV personality said on that day's episode of "The View." "I've worked really hard. And I had a hard life. ... I feel like if I can be sitting here, I hope that it's an inspirational story 'cause that means anybody can be sitting here."

Following Barbara Walters' death, Hostin shared a piece of advice that the late great host gave to her when she joined "The View." "I appreciate the fact that she told me when people come and sit at this table, they're like a guest in your home, and you must treat them that way," Hostin remembered. 

This allowed her to extend grace to guests like former president Donald Trump's aide, Omarosa Manigault, who tested her patience. As Hostin recalled on an episode of "The Wendy Williams Show," "[Manigault] was nasty behind-the scenes, she was nasty on the set, she was nasty afterward. She was just nasty, nasty, nasty, nasty." Needless to say, Walters' words of wisdom came in handy.