After only six months back in the hot seat, Rosie O’Donnell has decided to leave The View.
PEOPLE has confirmed that the 52-year-old host/comedian – who returned for the show’s 18th season to help fill a big hole left by the retiring Barbara Walters – said through her publicist Friday that she’s putting her “family and health first” after a split from her wife Michelle Rounds in November.
“This has been a very stressful situation,” according to a statement from O’Donnell’s publicist. “She is putting her personal health and family first. ABC has been wonderfully understanding and supportive of her personal decision to leave The View. Next week will be her last.”
This marks the second time O’Donnell has left the once powerful morning talk show. She exited the show for the first time in 2007.
ABC circled back to O’Donnell and hired Rosie Perez and former MSNBC analyst Nicole Wallace, to revitalize the aging talk show that’s now in its 18th season. Besides losing its founder, Walters, the show also had openings after last’s season’s booting of Jenny McCarthy and Sherri Shepherd.
Not long after the new women started, rumors of trouble began to surface between the panel’s most outspoken women, O’Donnell and veteran panelist Whoopi Goldberg. The duo would often clash on-camera over topics – most recently on the subject of the scandal involving Brian Williams. On Thursday, O’Donnell compared his “lies” about riding onboard a helicopter that was hit by enemy fire to those uttered by Lance Armstrong about not using performance-enhancing steroids.
“It’s a blatant lie,” O’Donnell said. “It’s a Lance Armstrong lie.”
Goldberg quickly shut her down.
“No, no, no, it’s not a Lance” Armstrong lie,” Goldberg said, before arguing that Williams, at most, was guilty of embellishing the story over the years.
O’Donnell’s decision to depart comes in the wake of false rumors that Perez was fired after she was absent from the View desk for several weeks.
ABC released a statement said she was only rehearsing for a Broadway play but would return to the show. She came back Feb. 3.
Friday night, ABC issued the following statement about O’Donnell: “Rosie is an immensely talented star who comes in each and every morning brimming with ideas, excitement and passion for the show. When she told us that she wanted to exit The View, we respected and understood her desire to put her well-being and her family first. We re delighted she s still part of the ABC family with upcoming guest appearances on The Fosters. And we know she ll return to The View often with her unique point of view and updates on her work and her family.”