Speaking to Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live, she attributed it to a comment Ellen allegedly made about her some years ago.
“We had a little bit of a weird thing,” Rosie said of their relationship. “After my show went off the air, and hers was coming on the air, Larry King was on with Ellen and he said, ‘Whatever happened to Rosie O’Donnell? Her show went down the tubes. She came out as a lesbian and disappeared.'”
She said that Ellen pulled a Mariah Carey on her, telling Larry, “‘I don’t know Rosie. We’re not friends.'”
That was a surprise because she and Ellen had, in fact, met before. Ellen had even been on The Rosie O’Donnell Show, where she made a memorable joke about being “Lebanese” as code for “lesbian” before she came out.
Rosie recalled hearing Ellen’s remarks and expressing her shock to her then-wife Kelli Carpenter. “I was in bed with Kelli, and I went, ‘Did I just hear that or was that, like, a hallucination auditory voice?'” she remembered. “I’m like, no, and that’s what happened, and it hurt my feelings like a baby, and I never really got over it.”
Though she was later invited to appear on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, it ultimately didn’t work out. Rosie said she had tried to bring someone with her in an attempt to make it “a little less awkward,” but the offer was refused.