Whatever Happened To Star Jones?

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Television personality Star Jones is best known for her nine-year stint on The View. She co-hosted the talk show from its inception in 1997 through her shocking departure in 2006. Since leaving the program, Jones hasn't been much of a "hot topic." What's she been up to? We've got the scoop.

She shocked fans and burned bridges

When Jones suddenly announced on air in July 2006 that she was leaving The View , fans were shocked. So were her co-hosts, according to various reports.

Show creator Barbara Walters claimed she was blindsided by Jones' unscripted announcement, which didn't exactly shed a flattering light on the ladies of the round table. "I would have loved for Star to have left and not said 'I was fired' and not make it look like the program was somehow being cruel to her," Walters told The Associated Press (via Today .) Walters said the official news of Jones' departure was supposed to be made public on the air just two days later.

Jones claimed she was terminated on April 21, 2006, and simply could not keep the secret any longer. "My contract was not renewed," she told People. "I feel like I was fired." During an interview with Larry King, Jones said the barrage of rumors about her future with the show had become too much to bear. "Through it all, every single week there'd be news reports, speculation, rumor, gossip, innuendo and it was relentless," she said. "I realized it was turning into a circus atmosphere and the viewers deserved after nine years for me to not go out in a circus atmosphere."

The day after Jones' announcement, she essentially vanished. "It is becoming uncomfortable for us to pretend that everything's the same at this table," Walters told the audience during the first episode following the exit. "Therefore, regrettably, Star will no longer be on this program." 

She continues to struggle with her weight

In August 2003, a 40-year-old Jones underwent gastric bypass surgery to help her lose weight. At 307 pounds, she realized obesity was taking a toll on her health. Speaking with Glamour in 2007, she said, "I couldn't breathe without sounding winded; walk without getting tired; sleep without snoring; or take a flight without using a seat belt extender."

Despite dropping down to 140 pounds, Jones' struggle with the scale continued. In 2015, Radar Online published photos of Jones on a beach, speculating that she'd regained a significant amount of weight. "She looks as if she weighs about 220 pounds," Dr. Sue Decotiis told the tabloid. "Surgery is only effective if the patient adheres to the lifestyle changes, nutrient dense but lower calorie diet and increased physical activity on an ongoing basis."

An insider said Jones' lifestyle was to blame, telling the tab, "She loves breakfast sandwiches from fast food joints, mac and cheese for lunch and sometimes a whole pizza for dinner. But it's worst at night when Star is home alone. She'll sit in bed, watching TV, downing a couple of burgers and fries."

She stirred up drama on The Celebrity Apprentice

Following her departure from The View, Jones returned to the small screen in 2011 as a contestant on The Celebrity Apprentice, but before the season premiered, fellow contestant NeNe Leakes was already making the media rounds and calling Jones her enemy.

"Star Jones has got it in for me," The Real Housewives of Atlanta star said during a press conference. "It's all good. I'm okay with it. There are a lot of people who don't like Star, so I won't be the only one. She's a piece of work." Leakes added, "Anyone who sits around all day and says all her friends are doctors and lawyers and A-list celebrities — cut the BS, I don't have time for it."

When asked about Leakes' comments, Jones told Life & Style (via the Huffington Post), "I did Celebrity Apprentice to raise money and awareness for [the American Heart Association], not to see it reduced to a cliché where black women attack one another for publicity's sake. I haven't made any comments in hopes that she would remember that we all participated in this show for charity and not as a vehicle to promote ourselves and such hatred."

She introduced the world to her life partner

Jones weathered a high-profile marriage to author and professor Al Reynolds from 2004 to 2008, but she didn't go public with her new relationship until 2016, when she introduced the public to Ricardo Lugo and his son, Jake, at the 8th Annual Children's Museum of the East End Family Affair in Bridgehampton, N.Y. Jones told the press that Lugo was her life partner. "This is my family," she said. "I'm not married, but we're together."

Lugo is an attorney in Cook County, Ill. He was once named one of Chicago's most eligible bachelors by Today's Chicago Woman magazine in 1986-1987.

She revisited her law career

Before she became a TV personality, Jones worked as a prosecutor in Brooklyn, N.Y. In June 2017, she briefly revisited her original career choice, volunteering to host a training session titled "Media and Justice" in Cook County, Ill. According to the Chicago Tribune, the session was likely catalyzed by Jones' connection to Lugo, who works for the State's Attorney.

She stumped for Hillary Clinton

Though she rubbed elbows with Donald Trump on The Celebrity Apprentice, Jones made it no secret that she was with Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign. Jones spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia and told Variety that she "cried the whole entire time" Clinton spoke at the event.

"I thought [Clinton's speech] was wonderful," Jones gushed. "Not only did she rise to the occasion, there was substance in it. There's always substance behind what she has to say." Jones said the former first lady and Secretary of State had been an inspiration for her in the '80s. "I was a young female lawyer at the time dedicated to public service," she said. "I really did look to other women lawyers for my inspiration. I have to tell you the legend of Hillary Rodham was front and center in my circle."

She launched her own TV show

In June 2017, Jones unveiled a small-screen project based on her 2011 book Satan's Sisters. The show, called Daytime Divas, drew from her novel and cast Vanessa Williams in the main character's Barbara Walters-esque role. 

Although the premise may sound juicy — the series tells the behind-the-scene story of a group of women who host a talk show together (sound familiar?) — the show premiered on VH1 to mediocre reviews. Deadline said the series "simply isn't very sharp, which is what satire needs to be. Feeling dated and badly stitched together, Daytime Divas lacks even much of a nudge-nudge-wink-wink did Barbara and Whoopi really do that? element." The aforementioned critique concluded that if you're thinking of tuning in, you should "save yourself from watching this mess..."

She threw shade on Elisabeth Hasselbeck

During a June 2017 appearance on Andy Cohen's Watch What Happens Live, Jones didn't mince words about former colleague Elisabeth Hasselbeck. When Cohen asked if Hasselbeck ever said "anything on the air to you that made you nuts?" Jones quickly answered, "Every single day." 

Jones did clarify that she had no beef with Hasselbeck off-camera, saying she "liked her, love her; smart, kind young lady," even if she "makes no sense whatsoever on the air."

She took on a tabloid

While she had no issues calling out Hasselbeck, Jones railed against rumors of a feud with Walters. When RadarOnline reported that Walters hated the content of Jones' Daytime Divas program, Jones took to Twitter to set the record straight.

"Complete BS @RadarOnlineCom. U wouldn't know what BW thinks if she sent you a telepathic message," she tweeted, adding that "BW taught me more in 10 years than any other person in my life other than my brother #JohnnyCochran. Telling you now @RadarOnlineCom #BTFO."

She's opening up about her past

While promoting Daytime Divas, Jones worked hard to keep her name in the news, even if that meant sharing a lot of dirt about her past. When TooFab asked the North Carolina native to name the three biggest diva moments from her decades-long career, boy oh boy, did she deliver! 

"I did tell that sleazy guy that used to work in the Clinton White House not to touch me — Dick Morris," she said. "...I just thought he was sleazy!" Then there was the time when "there was a pimp on [The View] and he was being disrespectful to women and I walked out." 

Her "most diva moment" arrived while her sister was giving birth. "She had been in labor all frickin' night, it was now a total of 16 hours and they would not give her any medicine. I went straight Shirley MacLaine on all of these people, screaming, 'Give her something for the pain,'" she said. "I had arrived thinking Auntie Star's gonna see her new nephew, so I'm in a fur coat, high heeled shoes, balloons. I looked like a full-on lunatic, that was a full-on diva moment."