February 07, 2014 8:23am PT by Hilary Lewis
Rosie O'Donnell Returns to 'The View,' Says She 'Totally Believes' Dylan Farrow (Video)
Rosie O'Donnell returned to The View on Friday, marking her first appearance on the ABC daytime talk show since her contentious season as a panelist from 2006-07.
O'Donnell walked out after the first opening segment, looking surprised as she stepped onto the set to cheers from the audience. She then hugged all of the panelists and enthusiastically said, "Hi" to the audience before taking a seat on the couch.
"This feels kind of weird but good weird," she said after sitting down. Barbara Walters said it was good to have her back on the couch and had previously explained that the show thought this was the right time to invite O'Donnell back, with Valentine's Day coming up.
O'Donnell then talked about how she was wearing red for heart awareness and recalled her own experience having a heart attack and shared details about life with her wife, Michelle, and five kids.
Walters noted that while she disagreed with O'Donnell about some things, she never doubted that she was a good mother.
O'Donnell also participated in "hot topics," but she asked Walters before they went to the commercial break preceding the segment if she really wanted her to be a part of the famously contentious part of the show.
Once "hot topics" began, O'Donnell was quick to make a controversial statement, saying that she "totally believes" Dylan Farrow's claim that Woody Allen molested her. O'Donnell noted that she too was a victim of sexual abuse and that Mia Farrow is a really close friend of hers. O'Donnell also claimed that if you read the custody decision in the dispute between Mia and Allen, there was cause to prosecute but they thought it would be too traumatic for the child. Walters reiterated what she said earlier in the week, that Allen's been a good father, but O'Donnell said, "You can never really know what's going on in a house." Their dispute ended there, with Walters saying, "We'll move on."
The panel returned to Allen later when Whoopi Goldberg asked O'Donnell if she missed having a daily televised forum to share her views. O'Donnell said she sometimes does, when there's something she feels strongly about, but then other times, she's glad that if she says something she doesn't have to experience the intense Twitter backlash that comes with voicing controversial opinions on TV. Walters said that was what happened after she defended Allen on Monday, and O'Donnell noted that she saw that and explained that she thought it was hard for people who had been abused to hear someone saying that a person who claimed to be a victim of abuse was not being truthful. But again the conversation stopped short of a fight with Walters and O'Donnell agreeing to disagree.
The panel also discussed Justin Bieber, with O'Donnell saying he's just a kid and that if everything most people did when they were his age was publicly reported on, a lot of people would be ashamed of their behavior. However, she noted that his parents, if they're financially dependent on his success, have an even greater responsibility to protect him than they would if that wasn't the case.
O'Donnell was also asked her thoughts on the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, saying that she thinks drug addiction, which Hoffman suffered from, "is a disease."
"It's time we stop shaming addicts and realize it's a disease," she said. "I understand it's a hard concept for people who don't have any addictive nature."
O'Donnell's tenure on The View was marked by a series of on-air arguments with fellow panelist Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who's since left for Fox News.
Before the "hot topics" segment began she fearfully asked, "Is Hasselbeck here?" And during the discussion she said she was restraining herself a bit, adding, "I'm afraid I'll be exiled again."
O'Donnell also talked about her role on ABC Family's The Fosters and how she's doing a comedy special for HBO about heart disease, explaining that she's been doing stand-up and has figured out a way to make the serious topic funny. When asked what she does in her spare time, O'Donnell said, "I watch The View."
Walters and Sherri Shepherd are the only panelists from O'Donnell's season still on the show, with Joy Behar also having left. Goldberg replaced O'Donnell, and the show added Jenny McCarthy this fall. This is Walters' last season on The View.