LOS ANGELES (Reuters Life!) - Comedian, actress, talk show host, philanthropist, gay rights activist and mother to four kids, Rosie O’Donnell is no stranger to controversy.
Her strong personality and liberal views often tend to polarize Americans. But O’Donnell is showing off her softer side in a TV documentary playing throughout February on HBO about the many different types of families in modern America — including her own.
O’Donnell, 47, talked to Reuters about the making of “A Family Is a Family Is a Family”, her affection for children, dislike of bras and make-up, and the recent break-up of her long relationship with partner Kelli Carpenter.
Q: What did you learn from making this film?
A: “I learned that I love kids. To be around kids, for me there is nothing better. My youngest is 7 years-old now. It is heartbreaking. I miss that age. I really do. I’m thinking, ‘Dear Lord, is 47 too old to adopt another baby?’”
Q: Is that something that is on the horizon?
A; “It is always on the horizon. There is a lot of room on the raft, and if we could pull some kids out and put them on board, I am all for that.”
Q: The TV documentary includes home video of you and Kelli and your kids. Why did you decide to keep that section in after splitting up with Kelli some time ago?
A: “Kelli and I had been working on what kind of arrangement our family was going to proceed in for the last two and a half years. I never once thought to stop doing the documentary.
“It is different when gay people with children separate. It is not as dramatic as what you stereotypically think with heterosexuals, where one person walks out ... It was more of a collaborative effort of how are we going to proceed and make sure of the most important thing, — which is that the emotional health, the heart and soul of these kids, remains intact. I think the greatest thing you can teach your child is how to deal with adversity because that’s what life is full of. Even though change is scary, sometimes it is necessary.”
Q; What do you think the reaction will be to the documentary?
A: “I haven’t had anyone tell me anything other than they love it. This is so kid positive. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been moved by it.”
Q; Are you bothered by some of the negative comments made about you?
A: “I don’t really remember my life without entertainment and showbusiness and public opinion being part of it. To say it doesn’t hurt my feelings when someone says something horrible is a lie. But to say that it devastates me is an untruth. When you are a young kid and you dream of fame and fortune, you never think of that part of it.”
Q: What’s the biggest wrong impression other people have about you?
A: “I don’t know. I kind of speak about things before people are ready to talk about them.”
Q: You started a satellite radio show in November. How are you enjoying that?
A: “I love it. I get to do it at home. I get to have my friends around. I get to invite people I really want to talk to. And most important, there is no hair, no make-up and no bra! Those are the three best things you can offer me in a job.”
Q: What is the first thing you think about in the morning?
A: “Where the kids are. Who is up.”
Editing by Bob Tourtellotte