After suffering a heart attack last year, Rosie O’Donnell is ready to step back in the spotlight. She’s signed on to appear on The Fosters, a show executive produced by Jennifer Lopez that centres on a lesbian couple with both biological and foster children. In a new interview with SiriusXM Progress, a candid O’Donnell opens up about her return to TV, gun violence, DOMA, Russia, the Vatican and celebrities from Boy George to Miley Cyrus:
On signing on to star on The Fosters: My 10-year-old daughter Vivi loves the show. She’s a big fan of that whole network, ABC Family. And consequently I’ve been watching nearly all the shows on there. But once I saw that one, I was really touched by it and I realized that [actor] Peter Paige, who I know from when I did ‘Queer as Folk,’ is [an] executive producer. So I tweeted about it and texted him congratulations. And, the lovely, lovely guy that he is, he said, ‘Would you be willing to do a recurring arc on the show?’ And I said, ‘Totally.’ So, I’m very excited.
On how the repeal of DOMA has changed her: When that happened, I was so moved and I was shocked that I was so moved. I was sort of expecting it, but I was still shocked. I have to say, I’m married to a woman who is nine years younger than me, and since we’ve been together, when we go out, she grabs my hand. And normally I’m okay with it but there are some times, like if we’re at a fancy restaurant, or if it seems very ‘non-gay eclectic arty,’ I did a little bit of ‘Oh, okay, wow,’ and have to talk myself through it. But since DOMA was struck down, I felt very differently about it. I felt like, I am now legally recognized by the country, allowed to be in a gay relationship. I am allowed to hold hands. So it’s really changed things for me in a way that I didn’t expect.
On Boy George: He looks fantastic. He was still using [drugs] when he was doing that [Broadway] musical [‘Taboo’] with me, which made it very difficult to work with him. It was very troubling. And afterwards, when he got arrested, I remember thinking, ‘I hope this straightens him out.’ Boy did it. He has never looked better. He’s completely sober. He’s a vegan. And that new song, I think, is beautiful. I think he’s so talented. I watched him sit down and write a song on a napkin, and then that song ended up being the closing number of the musical ‘Taboo.’ I watched him write it in 15 minutes. He’s epically talented and really, innately, a kind-hearted guy that just got lost in terms of the drugs and the fame and what it does to you, especially when you’re as young as he was when it hit. So, I think he looks wonderful and I think you should expect great things from him.
On Pope Francis: This is the best pope of my lifetime, I can tell you that for damn sure. I was raised Catholic and this guy seems to really have taken the teachings of Christ to his heart. He’s leading as a pious human being. And I think that’s a pretty phenomenal thing, considering the history of all of the pontiffs. It’s really been amazing. I enjoy him. He’s the first pope that made me go, ‘Wait, wait. Maybe there’s something there. I should think again about this, perhaps.’