In new excerpts published by Variety from Ramin Setoodeh's upcoming expose, Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View, 57-year-old O'Donnell candidly speaks out about 41-year-old Hasselbeck. Although O'Donnell and Hasselbeck infamously got into an emotional on-air debate in May 2007 about the Iraq war that quickly became personal, O'Donnell says she actually "loved" Hasselbeck. She also says she initially tried to mentor her by giving her advice on how to "loosen up" on TV.
According to Variety, when fellow View co-host Joy Behar comments that O'Donnell might have had a crush on Hasselbeck, O'Donnell replies with wild speculations.
"I think there were underlying lesbian undertones on both parts," O'Donnell claims. "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 goes on to say her crush on Hasselbeck was not sexual.
"There was a little bit of a crush," O’Donnell says. "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," she continues, referring to the NBA star's relationship with Michael Jordan while the two were on the Chicago Bulls. "If I was Jordan, I was going to give her the ball and let her shoot. But it was in no way sexualized."
As for their on-air fight about the Iraq war, O'Donnell admits there were definitely hurt feelings on her part. O'Donnell ended up leaving The View directly following the argument.
"It felt like a lover breaking up," O'Donnell says. "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.'"
According to Setoodeh's book, Hassebeck cried when she was reportedly fired from The View in 2013. The book claims that internal research at ABC indicated that Hasselbeck’s likability numbers took a sharp downturn with viewers after her on-air fight with O'Donnell, and never went back up.
ET has reached out to Hasselbeck's rep for comment.
"Talk about not securing the border. Here comes to The View the very woman who spit in the face of our military, spit in the face of her own network and really in the face of a person who stood by her and had civilized debates for the time that she was there," Hasselbeck said in a telephone interview with Fox and Friends.
"I don't hate Rosie," she wrote. "I actually called to talk to her seven years ago. She did not want to speak to me. I am happy to have a #momversation about why I would never defend her 2007 comments."