Dory and Terk Have Beef: Rosie O’Donnell Dishes on Ellen DeGeneres

in Disney, Entertainment

Ellen DeGeneres and Rosie O'Donnell have beef Terk vs Dory

Credit: ITM

If Dory from Finding Nemo and Terk from Tarzan ever met, would they get along?

We don’t know, and we probably never will – but we do know that if you took their voice actors – Ellen DeGeneres and Rosie O’Donnell- and put them in a room together, you might feel some icy vibes between them.

Rosie O’Donnell recently sat down with The Hollywood Reporter for a special Pride Month interview and talked about her history with the now-controversial former talk show host, Ellen DeGeneres.

Are Rosie O’Donnell and Ellen DeGeneres Friends?

Ellen DeGeneres comes out as a lesbian on the Rosie O'Donnell Show
Credit: NBC

Related: Disney Character Proposes at Pride Nite

In the 90s – while Rosie was working on Tarzan and her talk show was the talk of the town, and while Ellen was still working on her sitcom – they were excellent friends.

I had known her for years doing stand-up and as young entertainers in Hollywood. Me, Melissa [Etheridge], k.d. [Lang] and Ellen, we all would go to parties together…Celebrity lesbians. It was great. We were all so young. Nobody had really made it yet.

It was a good relationship. We were friends. We supported each other. 

Their friendship is part of why Ellen felt safe enough to come out as a lesbian for the first time on The Rosie O’Donnell Show – the rumor was that DeGeneres was about to come out to the world on her sitcom. Rosie didn’t want her coming out alone, so they did a bit on the show where they said they might be “Lebanese.

The audience got it, and the rest is history – sort of.

“It would never occur to me to say ‘I don’t know her’ about somebody whose babies I held when they were born.”

Rosie O'Donnell as Terk in Tarzan
Credit: Disney

Related: The Incredible Connection Between The Jungle Cruise and Tarzan!

After a gesture like that, you’d imagine they would stay friends forever – or at the very least that DeGeneres would be publicly grateful to her friend. However, O’Donnell explained that Ellen said something on Larry King Live a few years later, amid Donald Trump’s attacks on her character, that would destroy Rosie’s trust in her forever.

Larry King said, “Whatever happened to Rosie O’Donnell’s show? She went down the tubes as soon as she came out.” And the quote that Ellen said was, “I don’t know Rosie. We’re not friends.” I was watching TV in bed with my wife going, “Did she just say that?”

The real reason O’Donnell cited for her show ending was that, after Columbine and 9/11, the pressure of being in her position as one of the only talk shows at the time that was willing to go political got to be too much for her – but it wasn’t the lack of a defense from her friend that hurt her the most. It was the total denial of their years of friendship.

It would never occur to me to say “I don’t know her” about somebody whose babies I held when they were born. It wouldn’t be in my lexicon of choices to ever say.

(If Ellen DeGeneres were a Christian apostle, she’d be Peter.)

Ellen DeGeneres as Dory in Finding Nemo
Credit: Pixar

Related: VIDEO: Ellen DeGeneres shares her thoughts on President Trump watching “Finding Dory” in the White House

There was no coming back from saying something like that live on TV, at least not in Rosie’s eyes. She said that she still texts Ellen – DeGeneres had texted just the other day to check in on her – but the relationship is strained.

DeGeneres addressed the incident in a recent conversation, but it was clearly too little, too late. Ellen said that she was sorry and didn’t remember saying that, but that seems an unfitting balm for the situation because it’s not the kind of thing the person on the other end forgets. You can read the hurt when O’Donnell talks about it.

I remembered it so well, I had T-shirts printed and I gave them to my staff that said “I don’t know Rosie. We’re not friends.” I have a picture of her holding [my then-infant son] Parker. I know her mother. I could identify her brother without her in the room. I knew her for so many years.

It’s nice that Rosie and Ellen can be cordial, but the damage Ellen did to their friendship is likely irreparable. As O’Donnell put it:

It just felt like I don’t trust this person to be in my world.

Could you ever forgive a friend if they did something like that? Do you think they could be friends again? Chime in below in the comments.

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