Rosie O’Donnell used to break her own limbs with either a baseball bat or a wooden hanger when she was a child.
This revelation, as well as many about her experiences on "The View" last year, is contained in a new book she’s written due shortly called “Celebrity Detox.”
This personal memory, so shocking, is almost thrown toward the end of what is better described as a long essay than a short memoir.
All the proceeds from “Celebrity Detox” are going to Rosie’s charity, by the way. So it’s not like she’s putting her most painful personal memories on sale for self-aggrandizement.
But reading this passage is heart-breaking. Rosie, who lost her mother at age 10, felt she couldn’t get attention or sympathy otherwise.
She broke her own bones, she recalls, “my hands and fingers usually. No one knew. It was a secret.” She used a Mets baseball bat she got on bat day or the hanger. Why? It was “proof I had some value, enough to be fixed.” She recalls that she was no longer sad about her mother’s death, but “distracted.”
Rosie also dangles another clue about her childhood in two sentences. “There were many benefits to having a cast. In the middle of the night, it was a weapon.”
Why she would need a weapon in the middle of the night is not addressed.
Most of “Celebrity Detox,” which a source supplied to me Tuesday, is about Rosie’s life — her mother, her kids, her life before and after "The View."
And a good part of it deals with her rocky relationship with Barbara Walters. O’Donnell chronicles the year she spent with Walters in some unsparing details.
And while there are substantial revelations of their constant warring, Rosie also concludes that she and Barbara are on better terms now.
But that’s not how it was while they were stuck together in front of cameras and an audience. She writes about her observations of Walters’ aging, her “tiredness,” she says, at age 77.
She recalls a shouting match backstage in which she called Walters a “liar” over and over for not defending her when Donald Trump came on the attack. She calls Trump a “gelatinous … slug.”
O’Donnell recalls several startling moments with Walters, who she says came to resent her quickly after Rosie joined "The View."
“During the commercial, people scream ‘I love you Rosie,’” O’Donnell writes. “And Barbara tells them in a schoolteacher tone, ‘It is impolite to say I love you to one person when there are four of us up here.’ Then a stony silence sets in.”
"Celebrity Detox" is a slim volume, be warned. A lot is left out. My reading of it is that O’Donnell wanted to make a more formal statement of what happened to her during this ignominious year. But it also contains her take on celebrity and fame and how they affected her family life.
“As I slipped back into celebrity land,” Rosie writes of her return to daytime TV, “the tasks multiplied a thousandfold, and the letters addressed to me but having nothing to do with the real me — the mother me, the married me, the friend me — the letters addressed to the celebrity me began to pour in again. … I had gone four years living alone and now my mailbox was overflowing and people were telling me I was fantastic, the funniest, the happiest, the brightest. ...
“How best to explain this? It is a shift that happens in the head and that very few celebrities will ever really speak about. … One begins to believe in the specialness, and a dangerous sense of entitlement takes over. … When celebrity addiction starts, you become impatient with, and even angry at necessary obstacles. You think could run a red light or two. And then you do.”
“Celebrity Detox” — a brave little book by a brave woman, I think. Bravo!
Paris Hilton arrived in Toronto Tuesday night, and made an appearance — presumably for her regular fee — at InStyle Magazine’s D-List celebrity event.
Paris’ InStyle appearance was in stark contrast to other parties going on simultaneously. Woody Allen and his cast — Colin Farrell, Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell — from his morality play “Cassandra’s Dream” were treated to an A-list dinner at the Chanel store here by Harvey Weinstein.
And the new Miramax/Disney gave an elegant dinner at the Drake Hotel for director-artist Julian Schnabel and his masterpiece, “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.”
Alas, Paris’ arrival at the InStyle party was even funnier considering the magazine’s partner in crime, the jokey Hollywood Foreign Press Association, aka the Golden Globes.
Ironically, for years, when InStyle first started publication, they were often accused of paying celebrities to allow them inside their homes. It wasn’t money that was exchanged, but a currency of designer furniture, home makeovers, that sort of thing.
So the Globes seem like the wrong partner for a Time Life magazine. All week, HFPA members have been shuttled around town in a chauffeured Escalade that waits for them outside screenings.
When I mentioned this to the group’s sometime-head, Philip Berk, he responded, “Can’t you get one too?”
No, I reminded him, I’m just a journalist. I have to take taxis and pay for them, like everyone else.
That’s not all. Tuesday night, as usual, the HFPA controlled the publicity and the camera crews at the InStyle party — even though InStyle was footing the bill.
Pictures from the event will turn up Wednesday at photo agencies associated with them. When a young woman came from Rogers, Canada’s biggest media group, she was told to go away, because the HFPA wouldn’t allow them in.
“They [the HFPA] really control the list,” a headset-wearing woman told the Rogers exec. “It’s like that every year.”
And so on to Paris, whose InStyle appearance, fresh from prison and lying to Larry King on national TV, dovetails with her making a horror musical here called “Repo! The Genetic Opera!”
I kid you not. Her co-stars are Paul Sorvino (this is a shame) and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ex-wife, Sarah Brightman. The director, Darren Lynn Bousman, was responsible for “Saw II,” “Saw III” and “Saw IV.” It sounds like a perfect Golden Globe nominee — and just right for a feature in “InStyle”!
Praise continues for “Lars and the Real Girl,” which debuted Monday night. Music supervisor Bonnie Greenberg is being cited by everyone for her terrific choices for the soundtrack.
“Lars,” an MGM release next month, is a must-see film from this strange assortment of activities. …
And just in case you were worried, Michelle Williams’ break-up with Heath Ledger doesn’t mean the first couple of Brooklyn’s Boerum Hill is totally abandoning the nabe.
My sources tell me Michelle will stick around in the couple’s townhouse with their baby. Heath, however, is taking his name off the area’s ledger. ...