O'Donnell started her comedy career while still a teenager and her big break was on the talent show Star Search in 1984. A TV sitcom and a series of movies introduced her to a larger national audience and in 1996 she started hosting The Rosie O'Donnell Show which won multiple Emmy awards.
During her years on The Rosie O'Donnell Show, she wrote her first book, a memoir called Find Me and developed the nickname "Queen Of Nice" as well as a reputation for philanthropic efforts. She used the book's $3 million advance to establish her own For All Kids foundation and promoted other charity projects encouraging other celebrities on her show to also take part. O'Donnell came out, stating "I'm a dyke!" two months before finishing her talk show run, saying that her primary reason was to bring attention to gay adoption issues. O'Donnell is a foster—and adoptive—mother. Since coming out, she has continued to support many LGBT causes and issues. (Picture: Michelle Rounds)
In 2006, O'Donnell became a moderator on The View. O'Donnell's strong opinions resulted in several notable controversies including an on-air dispute regarding the Bush administration's policies with the Iraq War, resulting in a mutual agreement to cancel her contract. In 2007, O'Donnell released her second memoir, Celebrity Detox, which focuses on her struggles with fame and her time at The View. She continues to do charity work and remains involved with LGBT and family-related issues.
Rosie O'Donnell began dating Michelle Rounds in mid-2011. Rounds at that time was a 40-year-old executive-search consultant from New York City. The two married in a private ceremony in New York on June 9, 2012. O'Donnell and her wife, Michelle Rounds, announced via Twitter that they adopted a baby girl named Dakota. On February 6, 2015, representatives for O'Donnell confirmed she and Rounds had separated in November of the previous year. On February 28, 2015 a rep for O'Donnell stated that she had filed for divorce from Rounds.
From 2009 to 2011, O'Donnell hosted Rosie Radio on Sirius XM Radio. In 2011, O'Donnell signed on with the OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network to return to daytime TV with The Rosie Show. The OWN Network cancelled the show due to low ratings on March 16, 2012, and the last show aired on March 29, 2012.
In her January 31, 2002, appearance on the sitcom Will & Grace, she played a lesbian mom. A month later as part of her act at the Ovarian Cancer Research benefit at Caroline's Comedy Club O'Donnell came out as a lesbian, announcing "I'm a dyke!" "I don't know why people make such a big deal about the gay thing. ... People are confused, they're shocked, like this is a big revelation to somebody." The announcement came two months before the end of the hosting of her talk show. Although she also cited the need to put a face to gays and lesbians her primary reason was to bring attention to the gay adoption issue. O'Donnell is a foster and adoptive mother. She protested against adoption agencies, particularly in Florida, that refused adoptive rights to gay and lesbian parents. Diane Sawyer interviewed O'Donnell in a March 14, 2002, episode of PrimeTime Thursday. O'Donnell told USA Today that she chose to talk to Sawyer because she wanted an investigative piece on Florida's ban on gay adoption. She told Sawyer if that was done, "I would like to talk about my life and how (the case) pertains to me." She spoke about the two gay men in Florida who face having a foster child they raised removed from their home. State law won't let them adopt because Florida bans gay or bisexual people from adopting. O'Donnell's coming out drew criticism from some LGBT activists who cited her repeated references to being enamored of Tom Cruise on The Rosie O'Donnell Show as deceptive. She responded in her act stating, "I said I wanted him to mow my lawn and bring me a lemonade. I never said I wanted to blow him." After leaving her show and coming out, O'Donnell returned to stand-up comedy, and cut her hair. O'Donnell told the press that her haircut was meant to mimic the haircut of former Culture Club backup singer Helen Terry.
On February 26, 2004, O'Donnell married Kelli Carpenter, a former Nickelodeon marketing executive, in San Francisco two weeks after San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom authorized the granting of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Her decision to go to San Francisco to marry Carpenter was seen as a show of defiance against then-President George W. Bush over his support for the Federal Marriage Amendment. She said in 2004, "We were both inspired to come here after the sitting president made the vile and hateful comments he made ... One thought ran through my mind on the plane out here – with liberty and justice for all." The couple was married by San Francisco Treasurer Susan Leal, one of the city's highest ranking lesbian officials and was serenaded by the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus. O'Donnell said during the trial over Rosie magazine she had decided to marry Carpenter, in part because even though they acted as spouses they legally were no closer than friends: "We applied for spousal privilege and were denied it by the state. As a result, everything that I said to Kelli, every letter that I wrote her, every e-mail, every correspondence and conversation was entered into the record ... I am now and will forever be a total proponent of gay marriage."
In mid-November 2009, O'Donnell disclosed that Carpenter had moved out of their home in 2007; a month later, O'Donnell was seen publicly with her new girlfriend, Tracy Kachtick-Anders, a Texas-based artist. In 2000 the family took in a foster child Mia (born in 1997), and announced intentions to adopt her. In 2001, the state of Florida removed Mia from their home, and O'Donnell has since worked extensively to bring an end to the Florida law prohibiting same-sex family adoption. As of 2010, O'Donnell and her family resided in Nyack, New York, a suburb of New York City that is located in Rockland County and in Miami's Star Island. O'Donnell's brother, Daniel, who is also gay, represents the Upper West Side of Manhattan as a member of the New York State Assembly.
In February 2011, O'Donnell split with her girlfriend Kachtick-Anders. A source said, "They have definitely split up, but it is very complicated because their kids are very close. They still spend a lot of time together." A representative for O'Donnell stated "Rosie and Tracy never officially lived under one roof. They have lived near one another for quite some time, and their families still socialize and they see each other frequently."
O'Donnell began dating Michelle Rounds in summer 2011. Rounds at that time was a 40-year-old executive-search consultant from New York City. On December 5, 2011, during a break in the taping of The Rosie Show, O'Donnell announced to her studio audience she and Rounds were engaged. The two married in a private ceremony in New York on June 9, 2012.
O’Donnell and her wife, Michelle Rounds, announced via Twitter that they adopted a baby girl named Dakota.
Find Me by Rosie O'Donnell
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (April 1, 2003)
Amazon: Find Me
Part memoir, part mystery, a compelling tale that will break readers' hearts even as it heals them.
More LGBT Couples at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance
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