She also spills on the brutal, final day fight between the two cohosts and how it felt like "a lover breaking up."
Another day, another juicy story from behind the scenes at "The View."
In a new excerpt from "Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View," reporter Ramin Setoodeh's book about all the behind-the-scenes drama at the ABC morning show, Rosie O'Donnell spills on her relationship with Elisabeth Hasselbeck.
While everyone remembers their nuclear, split-screen confrontation on Rosie's final day hosting the show, O'Donnell said it wasn't always so volatile between them.
"I loved her," said Rosie (via Variety), before explaining how she tried to make Elisabeth a better debater on the show. "Here's what I said, 'I'm the senior. She's the freshman. I've got a really good player on the freshman team, but I have to teach her how to loosen up.'"
O'Donnell joined the show from 2006-2007, while Hasselbeck was a cohost from 2003-2013. Rosie later returned in 2014, after Elisabeth's exit.
"There was a little bit of a crush," O'Donnell admitted. "But not that I wanted to kiss her. I wanted to support, raise, elevate her, like she was the freshman star shortstop and I was the captain of the team. I was going to Scottie Pippen her. If I was Jordan, I was going to give her and the ball and let her shoot. But it was in no way sexualized."
"I think there were underlying lesbian undertones on both parts," O'Donnell then speculated, before putting forward some unfounded stereotypes to support her claim. "I think this is something that will hurt her if you write it. She was the MVP of a Division 1 softball team for two years that won the finals. There are not many, in my life, girls with such athletic talent on sports teams that are traditionally male that aren't at least a little bit gay."
O'Donnell also addressed their televised fight that will go down in daytime TV history, just two days before ABC confirmed Rosie's early exit from the show. During the feud, Rosie accused her cohost of not defending her from right wing criticism.
"It felt like a lover breaking up," said O'Donnell. "The fight that we had, to me as a gay woman, it felt like this: 'You don't love me as much as I love you.' 'I've taken care of you.' 'You have not.' 'How could you do that to me?' 'I didn't do anything to you.'"
A rep for Hasselbeck wasn't immediately available for comment on Rosie's claims.
"Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View" will be released April 2, 2019. Hasselbeck is releasing her own book, "Point of View," this week as well.