O'Connell is the first male co-host to join the show alongside Sheryl Underwood, Elaine Welteroth, Amanda Kloots and Carrie Ann Inaba. His involvement in the show was announced in July months after Osbourne departed the show in the wake of a racism scandal that began with an uncomfortable on-screen moment.
Speaking on the Radio Andy show "Bevelations," Bevy Smith asked the latest member of "The Talk" family what it was like to take over amid one of the show's biggest controversies to date. The star admitted there was definitely discomfort in the air among the cast and crew. However, he wasn’t privy to the details of the drama before he agreed to get on board with the show.
"It's funny, I didn't know the exact details of everything that happened. I remember reading that Sharon Osborne was no longer on The Talk and then I was literally on there," he explained.
As for how he dealt with the drama once he was there, O’Connell linked the situation to being a "rebound guy" in a relationship. He noted that, when he began dating his wife, Rebecca Romijn, she was just coming off a divorce with her husband of six years, John Stamos.
"And I'll tell you, being that rebound guy is fun, you can do no wrong," he said. "My wife would get depressed and I'd be like, 'What are you depressed about? Like, let's go have fun. Who cares?'"
He continued: "Coming in here right after Sharon Osbourne left, I could tell there was trauma with this group, you know, they were shook, they were shooketh. And I came in and I was like, 'Hey guys, I don't know anything about that. Like, let's just have a good time.' And anytime it was even brought up, I was like, 'Hey guys, guys, guys, that wasn't me, please. Can we not talk about that today?'"
Osbourne had a heated exchange with co-host Sheryl Underwood in which she expressed her support for Piers Morgan after he left "Good Morning Britain" over differing opinions about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey. Now, Osbourne is claiming that producers orchestrated the situation.
In a recent interview with DailyMailTV, Osbourne accused producers of orchestrating the incident and the subsequent backlash.
"They all knew the question and they all knew what was going down. I felt totally betrayed," she said.
She eventually jumped ship from the talk show in March.