Rosie O’Donnell has never been what you’d call a shrinking violet, yet the former “Rosie”/”View” star is opening up like never before in a wide-ranging interview with mental health advocate and speaker Mark Henick.
O’Donnell, 56, gets candid on a number of sensitive topics, including the 2017 suicide of ex-wife Michelle Rounds. Speaking with Henick, the “SMILF” star admits that Rounds’ struggles with depression “100 per cent” contributed to the breakup of their marriage.
“It all became very clear to me that she was unwell and I have been treating my own mental illness, my own depressive state, my own PTSD, my own severe anxiety, OCD,” O’Donnell tells Henick. “You have to be willing to participate in your mental health, and if you aren’t willing to participate in it, there is destruction all around, mainly to yourself. That’s what I’ve learned.”
O’Donnell now recognizes her own depression was evident when she sees photos of herself looking dishevelled in public, pointing out that neglecting self-care “is a huge symptom of depression. Huge. There are some times I’ll look online and see me at a premiere where everyone else is dressed up in hair and makeup and I look almost like I do right now, and I’m in shock sometimes, like, I went to that event thinking that I was ready and presentable. It’s almost like the social norms just kind of drop from your periphery. It’s just too much, just to get there it felt like enough. To actually think about blow-drying my hair, or putting on makeup. I look at it and I see the depression, or at my heaviest I look at it and I see the depression.”
O’Donnell opens up about her fractured relationship with estranged daughter Chelsea, 20, who recently announced she was pregnant. Her daughter’s struggles with mental illness, she says, didn’t occur overnight. “She was in a residential treatment centre since the age of 12 until 16,” she says, noting that Chelsea lived with her until she turned 18 and then ran away. Happily, she and her daughter have recently reconnected.
“Her challenges, which she got genetically, were overwhelming in some areas,” says O’Donnell, adding that “she’s doing much better now and we’re communicating. She’s in a relationship now that seems to be positive and not dangerous anymore… and she too has to make the declaration and the commitment to participate in your own mental health care.”
As someone who’s been down that same path, O’Donnell has come to realize that “no one’s going to fight the demon but you,” telling Henick that she and her daughter are “working through” their issues.
In the interview, O’Donnell also reveals that the current political situation in America gives her “extreme anxiety,” as you might expect when the person with whom you’ve been engaged in an ugly, prolonged feud becomes president.
“I faced his wrath for over a decade, so I know what kind of vicious creature he is. I really do,” says O’Donnell of Donald Trump, linking him with disgraced billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, who pleaded guilty to soliciting prostitution from girls as young as 14.
“The stuff he’s done that the American public doesn’t know he’s done, or refuses to see and acknowledge, all of the sexual assault cases, that young girl Katie Johnson that he supposedly raped who was 12 years old,” continues O’Donnell. “Listen, this is not the Pizzagate story, this is an actual young girl where there were witnesses on the Jeff Epstein plane, so I don’t know. I think he is as evil as a human being can be.”
In fact, O’Donnell says she refuses to accept that Trump won the 2016 election “legitimately. I can’t allow myself to believe it. All the facts say that it’s impossible, that every single person said he was going to lose, and he won, and where he won and by the percentages that he won, and where the Russians targeted, it’s very obvious, the same way it’s very obvious he’s a serial sexual abuser, very obvious.”
You can listen to the interview in its entirety below: