Rosie O’Donnell and girlfriend “never hide,” says spokesperson

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com March 03 2001 12:00 AM ET

The New York Daily News’ Rush & Molloy column reported Friday that Rosie O’Donnell has “no problem” with a New York magazine article that discusses the mainstream media’s reluctance to mention, as the article put it, “the woman who constantly appears at her side in public.” O’Donnell was not quoted directly, but her unnamed spokesperson told the columnists that O’Donnell and her girlfriend “never hide away. Rosie’s sexuality has never been important to her, and it’s not going to be now. I don’t think it’s important to her public. She is what she is.” The New York magazine article, by deputy editor Maer Roshan, also discussed media coverage of the sexuality of Barry Diller, Sean Hayes, and Kevin Spacey in the context of questioning how the media colludes with celebrities to present their personal lives in whatever way the celebrities dictate, with particular skittishness around those who might be gay. (The Advocate addressed this same topic with its January 16 article “Will the Real Out Celebrities Please Stand Up?” in which Roshan was quoted as saying, “The rules are changing.”) About talk-show host O’Donnell, Roshan wrote in New York magazine that she “regularly regales her viewers with personal tidbits about her children and her home” but not about her female companion and that the mainstream media accommodates that silence: “When Jack Nicholson shows up at a Lakers game with a date, the columns report it the next day. But when O’Donnell’s blond friend accompanies her week after week to her box at WNBA games, she turns invisible.” New York editor in chief Caroline Miller told Rush & Molloy that the article cannot be construed as outing, adding, “The fact that Rosie is gay has been written about extensively in the tabloid press, and to our knowledge she has never complained about that. The piece is not so much about Rosie as it is about journalists. It’s a reflection on how reporters censor what they know, and often what much of the public already knows, when it comes to covering gay celebrities.” Though O’Donnell’s spokesperson did not confirm that Rosie has a “girlfriend” or what her sexuality might be, she did insist that Roshan’s article was wrong on two counts: O’Donnell, said the spokesperson, was never sued for “galimony” by a former female companion, as New York reported (a point the magazine now concedes, according to Rush & Molloy), and contrary to the article, she did not emcee a National Coming Out Day event (a report the magazine stands behind).