Elisabeth Hasselbeck: From Reality Star Darling To Fiery Talk Show Host

Talk show host Elisabeth Hasselbeck was a conservative — and at times controversial — voice on shows like "The View" and "Fox and Friends" for almost two decades. On more than one occasion she found herself butting heads with her co-hosts and getting backlash from viewers who took to social media to comment on her commentary. But Hasselbeck never backed down and despite how people see her, according to The Guardian, she says she doesn't totally identify as a conservative. On a personal level, Hasselbeck has been driven by her faith and an openness that she described in a 2022 reunion on "The View." In regards to discussing opposing opinions, she said, "Hold your position in one hand and hold the hand of a friend in another. If we can't do that as a society, we are really teaching our kids the wrong way to talk about hard things."

As a celebrity, author, spokesperson, wife and mother of three she seemed to have it all. But balancing the different aspects of her life may have taken a greater toll than she realized, and a health scare had her re-evaluating her life and bringing big changes, including leaving her job and moving her family out of state.

Hasselbeck has come a long way from the fresh-faced young woman who caught America's heart in "Survivor: The Australian Outback," which was only the second season of the show. But it's clear the world wanted to see more of her. Keep reading to learn everything her life has become between then and now.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck was a Survivor star

In 2001, Elisabeth Hasselbeck (then Filarski) was already an accomplished young adult with a BFA degree from Boston College and a job with Puma Shoes' design team. But Hasselbeck headed to the Australian Outback to compete in Season 2 of "Survivor" to see what she was made of, as she told Kirk Cameron on "The Courage." But what she found after being stripped of all her comforts and breaking down life to the simple day-to-day survival was something different than she had expected. Hasselbeck found simplicity in her identity — a relief to let all the labels she'd placed on herself go — and strength in her faith.

Hasselbeck also gained a life-long friend in Rodger Bingham. On the show, the two formed a father-daughter type relationship, which was endearing to viewers (and likely added to her being a fan favorite) but very real to the pair, who stayed connected after the show. During a Q&A session on "The Rachael Ray Show," Hasselbeck said her talks with Bingham about family and faith were some of her most cherished "Survivor" memories. "It was a grueling 39 days. Finding a friendship there was meant to be," she added. Hasselbeck was voted out of "Survivor" on day 39 — the next contestant out after her buddy Bingham — finishing fourth overall.

She was diagnosed with celiac disease

One of the most challenging aspects of being on the show "Survivor" is the lack of food. But for Elisabeth Hasselbeck that might have just been a blessing. Before going on the show, the young adult reality show hopeful had been experiencing years of stomach issues, including pain and bloating, which she'd originally thought was due to a past bacterial infection, as she explained in her book "The G-Free Diet." She'd had all the standard tests, did the research, and tried to change her diet but nothing helped. Then she found herself in the Outback, forced to live off the land. It didn't escape her notice that the bland and limited diet seemed to work for her. "I remember thinking on multiple occasions, 'Even though I haven't showered in thirty-nine days, I feel clean and pure,'" she wrote.

Despite coming home with the realization that the food she was eating was the culprit of her stomach problems, Hasselbeck decided to slowly reintroduce the old foods she loved to eat, but sadly, her issues resurfaced and it was back to research. Once she realized it was celiac disease and that gluten was the problem, she went to work on her own diet, and in 2009 released "The G-Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide," followed by "Deliciously G-Free." In addition to being gluten-free, these recipes hold sentimental value for Hasselbeck. "It's a way to continue my family's food legacy," she told Self magazine.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck met her husband while in school

Since 2002, Elisabeth Hasselbeck has been married to American sports journalist Tim Hasselbeck. The pair met when they were both attending Boston college. Tim played football there and then signed with the Buffalo Bills in 2001. He played for various teams until his retirement in 2007 at which time he focused on a career as a sports analyst.

Though the couple started a family just three years after their wedding, Elisabeth reported in 2008, (after their second child was born) that the two were still in wedded bliss. "[A] little walk for ice cream with the kids is perfectly romantic. When they are falling asleep in the stroller and [we can] just take in the city together," she once said in People. Elisabeth also told Us Weekly in 2014 that the former QB was basically the team captain of the family, adding, "I like it that way. Our house works best because of his leadership, and I can be bold, but he's our general."

When speaking with Brian Lord on Premiere Speakers Bureau in 2017, Elisabeth looked back on what was the busiest and most challenging time in her life, sharing how she was able to make it all work. She said, "I personally could not do all that I was able to do without my husband... I just know that he has been my ultimate support in every area of my career..."

Elisabeth Hasselbeck hit The View

Elisabeth Hasselbeck didn't win "Survivor: Australian Outback," but she won America's heart and upon returning from her adventure, she felt the pull from viewers to continue appearing on screen. One of her first projects was in 2002 as a host for "The Look for Less" on the Style Channel, but it wasn't long before Hasselbeck would arrive at a much more serious venue: a co-host on the talk show "The View" with Barbara Walters. She was one of the hopefuls to do a guest run and was ultimately selected to replace the departing Lisa Ling.

It was clear from the outset that Hasselbeck would be the conservative voice on the show, with heated debates putting her in the "love her or hate her" category. Which was likely good for the show's ratings and may have contributed to her Emmy nominations. She received one every year from 2005 to 2001 and took home the daytime Emmy in 2009, which she shared with co-hosts Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Sherri Shepherd, and Barbara Walters.

In 2019, Hasselbeck looked back on her time on "The View," speaking with Life Today TV and shared she felt she wasn't qualified for the position but felt that her faith and her time on "Survivor" gave her a necessary foundation. "I felt as though He trained me up in 'Survivor' and how to ... stick it out in the Australian Outback with nine of the deadliest snakes so that 'The View' would feel easy," she said, laughing. 

She feuded with Rosie O'Donnell

What happens when an outspoken liberal and a candid conservative share the same space? For Elisabeth Hasselbeck it meant heated discussions with co-host Rosie O'Donnell. The two squared off on more than one occasion, but it all came to a head in a May 2007 episode of "The View." Apparently, O'Donnell was upset with Hasselbeck, calling her a coward for not setting the record straight with critics who reported that O'Donnell had called the troops terrorists. She asked Hasselbeck repeatedly to say the words on air. Hasselbeck bounced back, saying though she believed O'Donnell, it wasn't her job to defend her co-host's views. O'Donnell replied, "Every time I defend them, it's poor little Elisabeth that I'm picking on."

In the aftermath of that show, ABC announced that O'Donnell would leave before her contract was up. But their feud wouldn't end there. In 2014, when there were hints that O'Donnell would go back to "The View," Hasselbeck (who was already off the show by then) reportedly called into Fox News' "Fox & Friends" while on vacation to publicly express her displeasure with the idea, according to Us Weekly. Then to complicate matters further, Rosie revealed in Ramin Setoodeh's book, "Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of 'The View,'" that her argument with Hasselbeck was more personal and felt like a lover's quarrel, as reported by Variety. O'Donnell even shared she'd had a crush on her co-host, writing, "I think there were underlying lesbian undertones on both parts."

In 2013, she was cut from The View

In July of 2013, Hasselbeck had nearly ten years under her belt on "The View," when she said goodbye to the show and to her co-hosts. In announcing her departure on her final episode, she also revealed with viewers that she would be joining "Fox & Friends," but behind the scenes it wasn't because of the new gig that she was leaving. Hasselbeck had actually been fired by execs.

In 2019, the TV personality released a memoir entitled, "Point of View: A Fresh Look at Work, Faith, and Freedom" in which she discusses the shocking moment she was told her contract with "The View" wouldn't be renewed. "I could not breathe — literally, could not breathe," she wrote. She also shared that she basically pleaded with them to tell her what she could have done to avoid this and their response was that there was nothing, because they were taking the show in a different direction, less political.

Feeling hurt and betrayed, as she shared in the book, Hasselbeck moved on to her new position, but six years later she was given an offer to return to "The View," which she turned down. There were, however, a few drop-ins as a guest host, including a Season 25 episode in 2022, in which Hasselbeck came on to promote her children's book, "Flashlight Night," and was given a long intro piece on all her accomplishments on the show.

Her up and down relationship with Barbara Walters

Barbara Walters and Elisabeth Hasselbeck came to be more than just colleagues and co-hosts. Not only did the two form a sort of mother-daughter bond but Walters became a mentor for Hasselbeck, as she shared with Fox News in 2019. "She's done more for women in broadcasting than any other woman. She did more for me personally than any other woman," Hasselbeck said, adding it was Walters who called Fox after she was fired from "The View."

Just as other relationships have rough spots, Hasselbeck and Walters hit a pretty big bump, and the worst of it happened while mics were live. The incident, which occurred in 2006, began with a heated debate about the morning after pill. Hasselbeck was getting worked up while making her point, and Walters attempted to calm her, but as Hasselbeck saw it, in a condescending way. Fast forward to 2019, Variety released exclusive audio where Hasselbeck can be heard using profanity and saying she wouldn't go back to the stage as Joy Behar provides emotional support. "She reprimanded me like a child," she told producers, who seemed to agree Walters was in the wrong and tried to get Hasselbeck back to her seat.

Back onstage, the two hugged and made up and whether or not it was an act for the show, Hasselbeck only had complimentary things to say about Walters after she died in 2022. She shared on "The View" in 2023, "She changed my life."

Elisabeth Hasselbeck is a mom of three

In her 2019 book, "Point of View: A Fresh Look at Work, Faith, and Freedom," Elisabeth Hasselbeck writes about the moment she was fired from "The View" and what she said to execs. "I have come here and had babies and shared my heart," she recalled telling them. Over the course of her ten-year stint on the show, she had all three of her children and returned to her seat at the table each time. "I have done my work, and I just don't understand." In 2008, she even brought son Taylor to work with her.

Living in the city with small children was convenient for Hasselbeck's job, but she also noted in a Time Out for Kids article how different it is (via People). "Every day is a learning experience for city kids, and they are really sort of forced to interact with everyone around them and develop into social beings," she said. 

Once she had three children in the Hasselbeck household, she had to find ways to have quality time with them when she wasn't at work. She shared with OK magazine one of those ways was exercise. "I get more out of running around the yard with the kids than I do on a run by myself," she said, adding that there's also the extra benefit of a guilt-free good time.

Fox & Friends brought Elisabeth Hasselbeck aboard

As devastating as it was for Elisabeth Hasselbeck to get fired from "The View" in 2013, she barely had time to breathe before making her debut on another show, "Fox & Friends," which coincidentally also started in the late 90s. Hasselbeck joined Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade, replacing Gretchen Carlson. In a statement to the Associated Press (via E! News), Hasselbeck said, "I am privileged to call myself a team member, but I have felt like family there for a long time." 

Impressively, she was greeted on her first day with a cake that read "Welcome to the Family" and had a topper replica of the three hosts sitting on the couch, as well as a special gluten-free piece for their new co-host. She also had a surprise visit from former "View" co-host Sherri Shepherd, who brought hugs, a gift, and tons of praise that clearly showed how close the two are. At one point, Shepherd said, "Are you in good hands? We're very protective of our Elisabeth Hasselbeck." The two men seemed up to the task and happy to welcome their new co-host.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck was ready for a new chapter

Toward the end of 2014, Elisabeth Hasselbeck took some time off from her hosting duties at "Fox & Friends" and upon her return, she revealed that she'd had a medical procedure done: the removal of a tumor from her abdomen. "I'm beyond thankful to have a clean bill of health. It was a little bit of a scary time," she said on the show. She was also welcomed back by a surprise video from her children that left her tearful and speechless. So, it's probably not a surprise that just one year later, Hasselbeck made the decision to leave the show. She said in a statement in November of 2015 (via Business Wire), "I am confident that this personal decision is the right one for our family, and we will be joining all of you watching 'Fox & Friends' each morning as we get ready for school together." In 2019, Hasselbeck opened up to the "700 Club" about the other reason she left the show and that was the grueling schedule she'd been maintaining for years on very little sleep. "Getting three hours of sleep for two years straight is unhealthy and brought me to my worst version of myself," she said.

Along with leaving the show to become, as she called it, the CBO (Chief Breakfast Officer) the family also made a big move to Nashville. As Hasselbeck shared with Closer Weekly, after being invited there to host a Christian awards show, the couple realized it was the perfect place for their family.

She developed Nogii bars

When Elisabeth Hasselbeck figured out celiac disease was at the root of her long-time stomach issues, it was a relief but not the end to her journey. She had to change her diet significantly, and she wanted to find ways to have delicious but gluten-free food. Which was one of the catalysts for the two books she wrote on gluten-free eating. But, as she shared with Runner's World in 2010, "I was having a really hard time finding a bar, as an athlete and a celiac, that was gluten-free, had quality carbs and high protein, and was all natural." So, true to Hasselbeck's passionate nature, she went to work, in conjunction with Europa Sports, on developing protein and energy bars called Nogii that were gluten free and specifically designed for women, men, and children. But the Nogii brand wasn't only the snacks; it became a lifestyle brand that includes guidance on fitness, nutrition, and health. In terms of the flavor, Hasselbeck says, "And they are so good, I have to hold myself back from them."

According to the Nogii website, in 2020 ownership was transferred to Davis Thuan and Emily Hooper, "who are committed to sharing their experience in fitness & nutrition, helping people eat better and get in the best shape of their life."

In 2021, Elisabeth Hasselbeck's kids' book hit shelves

Not only did Elisabeth Hasselbeck have more time for and with her family when she left "Fox & Friends" at the end of 2015, but the pandemic brought another level of closeness for the family of five that resulted in something very positive they chose to share with the world. As Hasselbeck shared with her former "The View" co-hosts, she wrote the book "Flashlight Night" with her children. "This book kind of came to us based on a wall in our house where we were seeing some things that we were asking God for not come true, and I didn't know how to deal with that with the kids," she said about the wall in their house where they actually wrote down prayers and fears then they would turn the light off and shine the flashlight on something they see working, then turn it off if they felt it wasn't working out the way they'd hoped.

Hasselbeck talked of the importance of finding out what's in our children's hearts and having them acknowledge it. The other key message in the book is that kids can accept that things are not working out but still trust in God that they eventually will in some manner, which speaks to the subtitle "An Adventure in Trusting God."

The book was published in February of 2021 and became a national bestseller. As Hasselbeck shared on Fox News, she was thrilled that the book was being used in a Christian school in Nashville where she lives.