Rosie O'Donnell Recalls Coming Out as Gay After 9/11 (Exclusive)

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Rosie O'Donnell
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for GLAAD

Rosie O'Donnell is getting candid about how she decided to come out. In this exclusive preview of Wednesday's episode of Red Table Talk: The Estefans, the 58-year-old comedian recalls the 2002 moment.

The episode features O'Donnell speaking with both Gloria Estefan and Estefan's 25-year-old daughter, Emily, who herself talks about coming out to her famous mom. O'Donnell came out during her February 2002 appearance at Caroline's Comedy Club in New York, and she tells the Estefans that the moment wasn't actually a big deal considering it happened after 9/11.

"When I came out on TV after 9/11, it was like a blip, nobody even ... but I, like you, Emily, was surprised that people thought I was not gay," she says. "I went to a comedy club and I was doing stand-up and I'm like, "I'm gay. Listen, 9/11 happened, I'm gay. I'm telling you all, I'm gay. In case the buildings blow up again, I'm so, so gay,' you know?"

Red Table Talk: The Estefans' new episode featuring O'Donnell as well as Michelle Rodriguez candidly discussing sexuality, drops Wednesday, Oct. 14 at 9 a.m. PT / 12 p.m. ET on Facebook Watch.

ET spoke with both Gloria and Emily last month, and they talked about the powerful episode. Emily said the discussion definitely brought up old feelings.

"I think it's unbelievable how much time passes and then your perspective on an issue, you know, you can get to a point where you can sit and talk, but I think it's going to be surprising to a lot of people," she said. "However, at the end of the day, I think the moral of the story is that everybody has their own experience and their own story, and what matters is how you can look back at it and get through it, you know? ... This was our situation and we're going through it, and I hope that little Latino and little American and little French and whoever the hell is watching, and boys and girls and everything in between, can look and be like, 'All right, well, I don't have to be afraid or, you know, maybe I have somebody I can talk to.'"

Gloria said they went to therapy as a family in order to talk about certain things, including her husband, Emilio, whom she said will also be getting candid during certain Red Table Talk episodes.

"He always has something important to say about everything .... and discussing the sexuality episode where we talk about, very honestly, the situation, and how we got through, that we have never spoken about," she said.

Emily added, "We were all kind of going through our own things and like we said, we kind of, like, lost the responsibility as a family. ... One of the main pillars of the show is like, sit and talk, you know, even if you don't agree, you know, just working on listening and communicating, it's not present as much as I wish it would be in all of us."

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