The Gift Rosie O'Donnell Gave Martha Stewart When She Got Out Of Prison

Actress Rosie O'Donnell is opening up about how she struck up a friendship with lifestyle guru Martha Stewart. Many would be surprised to learn that the two former talk show hosts became friends during Stewart's infamous prison stint from 2004 to 2005. Though O'Donnell was a free woman, she sympathized with Stewart over her securities fraud and obstruction of justice charges. At the time, Stewart was sentenced to five months in federal prison for her part in an insider trading case.  

"I didn't really know her very much aside from the celebrity vernacular," O'Donnell confessed to Page Six. "She had done my show but I didn't really know her, we hadn't been out for dinner, we weren't exactly friends. Before she left, I wrote her a letter that I thought it was so unfair and if she ever needed anything don't hesitate and I left my phone number."

When Stewart was finally released, her pen pal also gave her an interesting present.

Rosie O'Donnell helped Martha Stewart make lemonade

Martha Stewart was warmed by Rosie O'Donnell's warm gesture and reportedly invited the former The View cohost to visit her in jail. "After she was in prison I got a call from her assistant who said she'd like you to come to visit," O'Donnell told Page Six. "And it kind of broke my heart to think that of all the people she knew she had to invite someone she sort of didn't know to come all the way to Lynchburg, Virginia. I had to get a plane and go there."

During their time together, O'Donnell learned how humbling the experience behind bars was for Stewart. The Flintstones actress asked the best-selling author what she missed most during her time in prison and was reportedly taken aback by the answer. "O'Donnell said that she fully expected to hear, 'My daughter' or 'My dogs,'" Page Six reported. "Instead, Stewart replied, 'The flavor of lemon.'" The veteran standup comic joked that if she had "known that I would have shoved one up my hooter, I could have got one in for you!"

But, O'Donnell gave Stewart one better. On the day of her prison release in March 2005, O'Donnell reportedly arranged for a Capri lemon tree to be imported from Italy and placed on Stewart's front porch at her home in Connecticut. The two have been good friends ever since.