In a telling admission to reporters after taking the stand in her grueling court case Thursday, Rosie O’Donnell said, “I have been willing to make peace. … This week is taking a toll on everyone.”
But that was afterwards. On the stand, the entertainer, 41, defended her behavior running her now-defunct Rosie magazine, saying she only agreed to start it after being promised full creative control by the publisher, Gruner + Jahr, reports the Associated Press.
Both sides are suing each other for breach of contract (O’Donnell is seeking $125 million, G+J wants $100 million).
In testimony before Judge Ira Gammerman (who will decide the outcome of the case, which is not being tried before a jury) in Manhattan’s State Supreme Court, O’Donnell said she was open to launching a magazine with her name on it. Her decision, she said, was based in part on the success of Oprah Winfrey’s magazine, O, and that she was interested in a similar translation of her successful TV show into print.
She also said that G+J CEO Daniel Brewster (who said that he, like O’Donnell, was a political liberal) swayed her into the venture. She said she was impressed when Brewster told her that his father was a Democratic U.S. senator, Daniel Brewster, of Maryland, and that their magazine could promote their mutual beliefs as well as Rosie’s shoot-from-the-hip personality.
According to O’Donnell: “And he said, ‘Are you going to be a controlling bitch like Martha (Stewart) and Oprah?’ I sort of laughed, and I said, ‘Martha and Oprah are pretty successful controlling bitches, don’t you think?’ He laughed. I guess at the time he thought I had a sense of humor.”
According to NBC’s “Today” show, Judge Gammerman had to get the courtroom to quiet down after O’Donnell had the crowd laughing.
The New York Times reports that O’Donnell, in recapping her career before addressing what went on at Rosie magazine, mentioned a now-notorious abrasive performance she gave at the Mohegan Sun casino as a “big bomb,” then turned to the judge and added, “It was very loud. I’m surprised you didn’t here it up here, sir.”