Roseanne Barr's ex-husband Tom Arnold is continuing to speak out about the cancellation of his ex-wife's sitcom

By Aili Nahas and Jodi Guglielmi
June 05, 2018 04:12 PM
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Roseanne Barr‘s ex-husband Tom Arnold is continuing to speak out about the cancellation of his ex-wife’s sitcom.

Arnold, 59, says he “wasn’t surprised” by Barr’s offensive tweet that prompted ABC to cancel the Roseanne revival, telling PEOPLE it was “self-sabotage.”

“She was a ticking time bomb,” he says while promoting his new comedy special, Past & Present Imperfectly. “I wasn’t surprised at all by what happened. Zero. She can’t control herself.”

Roseanne was canceled by ABC last week after Barr wrote a tweet comparing Jarrett to an ape. Barr later claimed that she had taken Ambien before she began tweeting.

Arnold suggests that Barr wanted the show to end.

“I do think it was self-sabotage,” he says. “The pressure was mounting. She knew the new season was coming back and I think it just got to her and she did it on purpose. Like, the writers are coming back on Tuesday, I’ve got to f— this up quickly. It was too much pressure.”

Tom Arnold and Roseanne Barr
| Credit: Tasia Wells/Getty; Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty

Barr, 65, and Arnold were married in 1990 but divorced in 1994. He also worked as a writer on the show beginning in 1988.

Arnold, who said he hasn’t spoken to Barr in several years, claims she suffers from mental illness.

“Of course I believe she has a mental illness,” he says. “She had multiple personality disorder when we lived together.”

(Barr addressed her mental health issues in 2011 when she retracted her allegation that her parents had sexually abused her. “I was in a very unhappy relationship. I was prescribed numerous psychiatric drugs, incredible mixtures of psychiatric drugs to deal with the fact that I had — and still in some ways have and always will have — some mental illness,” she told Oprah Winfrey. “And [with] the drugs and the combination of drugs that I was given — which were some strong, strong drugs — I totally lost touch with reality in a big, big way.”)

But even Arnold admits he was surprised by Barr’s recent racist remarks on social media and her vocal support of President Donald Trump since his election in 2016. Arnold called the change he’s seen in Barr over the years “crazy.”

“When I met her she was a feminist and so enlightened. She wasn’t a racist. I never heard her say a racist comment,” he says. “I had no idea how pro-Trump she really was.”

As for the future, Arnold wishes Barr “the best” and hopes she uses this as a time for reflection and healing.

“I have sympathy for Roseanne but she did terrible things,” he says. “We need to get this straightened out. Roseanne needs to heal and get better and I think she’ll become an amazing advocate. I think she’ll turn it around.”

Arnold’s new comedy special Past & Present Imperfectly is out now via the Comedy Dynamics Network on iTunes, Amazon, Comcast, DIRECTV, AT&T, DISH, Charter, Google Play and other cable and satellite companies. The album will be released June 8.