On the one hand, Jones wishes her co-hosts had talked to her about her weight struggles, but acknowledges she would have lashed out if they had.
For nearly ten years, Star Jones was part of the original cast of “The View,” but they were not necessarily happy or healthy years for her. And that proved a challenge for her and her co-stars.
“If I’m 100 percent honest, I regret not being strong enough to admit that I was in a depression and really ill about my health,” said Jones of her tenure on the show from 1997 to 2006.
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Jones was joined by fellow OG co-hosts Meredith Vieira, Debbie Matenopoulos and Joy Behar for the reunion as part of the show’s 25th anniversary celebration.
Vieira admitted that it was hard for all of them to watch Jones suffer, because they didn’t feel like they could talk about it — not necessarily on the air, but even to Jones directly.
“We were worried and we were also kind of, to be honest, a little angry about the dialogue, because we felt, ‘This isn’t honest,’” she said. “We’ve purported to be the honest women on this show and we stopped being totally honest with each other, which was not good.”
Behar said that Jones had told her later that it would have been nice had one of them told her, “Star, you need to lose weight. You’re unhealthy.’”
“I said, ‘If I had said that to you, you would’ve bitten my head off,’” Behar recalled. “And you said, ‘Yes, I would’ve.’”
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She said that since Jones was in “denial” about her weight issues, the rest of the team had “to pretend it was something other than what it was,” which they found uncomfortable. Behar explained that it was like they were being told to “be an actress” about it, quipping, “Well, we don’t get paid to be an actress.”
The co-stars acknowledged and praised Jones for how far she’s come in her health journey, with Jones declaring that she is “healthier now than I’ve ever been in my whole life.”
When Jones first joined “The View,” she described herself as a confident, full-figured woman. That changed when she became clinically “morbidly obese.”
“When I changed to morbidly obese Star, I didn’t have the courage to let that mask down,” Jones said, per Oprah.com. “I didn’t have the courage to say: ‘Y’all, I ain’t happy no more. I’m scared.”
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After tipping the scales at more than 300 pounds for the first time in her life during her time on the show, Jones underwent gastric bypass surgery, but still never talked about it on the show. Even as she shed 160 pounds over three years, it was never discussed.
In fact, Jones revealed that she adamantly refused to admit to the surgery for fear of disappointing anyone. Instead, she started pushing people away out of shame that she was unable to control her addiction.
That lack of transparency, which even co-creator Barbara Walters agreed to keep quiet, started to erode the audience’s trust in Jones, as well as the show itself. She has since come to regret that the rest of the cast was urged to keep her secret, which meant lying if asked directly about it.
What ultimately helped her was therapy, which she’d initially not done as part of her weight loss regiment. It was this process that helped her to change her thinking and be able to be more comfortable being honest about the choices she made and her journey toward a healthier self.