When ‘View’ Co-Hosts’ Personal Lives Became ‘Hot Topics’

The original cast of "The View," is seen here, Aug. 11, 1997, when the show’s first episode aired. According to Barbara Walters and former executive producer Bill Geddie, the show struggled initially. "Barbara had to go door to door to get stations to watch us," Joy Behar said.

The original cast of “The View,” is seen here, Aug. 11, 1997, when the show’s first episode aired. According to Barbara Walters and former executive producer Bill Geddie, the show struggled initially. “Barbara had to go door to door to get stations to watch us,” Joy Behar said. Steve Fenn/ABC News

The co-hosts of the ABC daytime talk show “The View” are not shy talking about everything from sex to politics, but there have been times over the years when the show’s “hot topics” were the ladies’ personal lives.

“We all talked about personal aspects of our lives,” said Barbara Walters, who launched the show in 1997 and has served as its co-host and executive producer. “We were a kind of family, sharing our good times and bad.”

Several of the current and former “View” co-hosts shared memories from their time on “The View” for the ABC News primetime special, “The View: 20 Years in the Making,” which airs Tuesday, Aug. 23, at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.

Lisa Ling, who co-hosted the show from 1999 to 2002, said the hosts were encouraged to talk about their personal lives on the show.

“I had a group of girlfriends that I would always go out with and I would talk about on the show all the time,” Ling said. “It definitely got to the point where they would say, ‘OK, you’re not talking about this on the show, right?’”

Some of the happier moments included when Jenny McCarthy, who co-hosted the show from 2013 to 2014, announced she was engaged to Donnie Wahlberg. Elizabeth Hasselbeck, who co-hosted from 2003 to 2013, went public all three times she was pregnant.

“I think exposing your personal life was probably the toughest part of being on ‘The View,’” said Star Jones, who was a co-host on the show from 1997 to 2006.

“I don’t think we fully appreciated that we were opening ourselves up,” she continued. “We got comfortable taking about the things we liked, we loved, who we liked, who we loved, and it invited criticism. I’m not sure if we knew the path that we were going down, if we would do it all the same again. I know I wouldn’t.”

There were emotional moments shared on the show, too, as when Whoopi Goldberg, who has been a co-host since 2007, was overcome during a tribute for her late friend and fellow actor Robin Williams after he committed suicide in 2014.

“I think in order to be relatable, the hosts wanted to expose their own vulnerabilities,” Jones said. “The fun things as well as the troubling things that were going on in our lives. At the time, it seemed like a good idea. In hindsight, you make yourself vulnerable, and there are ramifications for that.”

Sherri Sheperd, who co-hosted from 2007 to 2014, was very frank with viewers when she talked about her divorce, then dating life as a single woman, then her marriage to Lamar Sally, which ended in a second divorce.

“It’s a double-edged sword, sharing so much on ‘The View,’” Sheperd said. “Because people, our viewers, you’ve shared so much, they become invested. … Sometimes that is the worst thing to come on and say, ‘Please give me my private time,’ because I think our viewers feel like, ‘No, we’re family.’ It’s almost like they need closure.”

The co-hosts have also shared personal stories about their struggles with illness. Meredith Vieira, who was one of the original ‘View’ co-hosts and left the show in 2006, and her husband, respected news producer Richard Cohen, opened up about his struggle with multiple sclerosis.

“It was truly courageous for Meredith and her husband to be so open with his disease, and I believed it helped the national conversation about MS,” Walters said.

Walters herself became the focus of conversation when she announced on the show in 2010 that she was undergoing heart surgery to replace a faulty heart valve.

“When it turned out that I had to have open-heart surgery, I told the audience and they responded by sending me thousands of letters,” Walters said. “I was truly moved at the outpouring of concern and support.”

Candace Cameron Bure, who joined “The View” as a co-host in July of 2015, said it takes a great deal of courage to put yourself out there and share so much with the viewers.

“But the greatest part of that is when you can encourage someone or inspire someone because you are telling someone out there, ‘Hey, you’re not the only one,’” she added.

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