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Star says she wanted to tell the truth about her departure

Reynolds' gives first TV interview since leaving 'The View'

Star Jones Reynolds discusses her last days on "The View" and what led to her surprise announcement.


Larry King
Entertainment (general)
Star Jones
Rosie O'Donnell

(CNN) -- Star Jones Reynolds says she decided to make a surprise announcement that she was leaving "The View" because she wanted to tell the truth about her departure.

"My viewers, our viewers, deserve the truth and I gave it to them," Reynolds told Larry King Thursday in her first TV interview since she was kicked off "The View."

Reynolds apparently surprised her fellow hosts of the ABC talk show on Tuesday by saying on the air that she wouldn't be returning to the daytime talk show in the fall. Reynolds has been a co-host on the show since it first aired 9 years ago.

Reynolds' unscripted departure has quickly turned into a highly publicized war of words about who -- Reynolds or show creator and co-host Barbara Walters -- was blindsided or betrayed. (Watch Reynolds tell her story to Larry King -- 6:28)

Reynolds said that she had been told on April 21 that she would not continue with "The View" in the fall.

ABC has said the decision was based on Reynolds' plummeting popularity because of her off-camera persona.

In the days leading up to the planned date for the announcement in mid-July, she said there was growing gossip and innuendo about her leaving -- something she said was leaked to the media. ( Watch Reynolds' make her announcement -- 5:45)

That's when she said she decided to go out "on my own terms," adding "the terms I chose was to tell the truth."

The day after Reynolds' announcement, she was missing from the show and her photograph had been erased from the opening credits.

"It is becoming uncomfortable for us to pretend that everything is the same at this table," Walters explained to the audience. "Therefore, regrettably, Star will no longer be on this program." (Watch as Walters says she was blindsided by Reynolds -- 2:50)

When clips from that show were played for Reynolds on "Larry King Live," she replied, "I had not seen it before. I'm sad that the platform that I helped to build was used in a way to attack me professionally."

Reynolds, for her part, granted an interview with People magazine, saying "I feel like I was fired."external link Reynolds told King that she gave the interview to the magazine before her on-air announcement. In a statement from ABC read on "Larry King Live," the network said Walters felt betrayed by the article.

"I told the truth, I didn't lie, I told the truth," Reynolds responded. Also in the ABC statement, the network said that Reynolds' "wedding freebies" from her glitzy wedding to banker Al Reynolds in 2004 had a negative impact on the show.

"There's no question I used my celebrity to make my wedding plans," she told King, adding that it was a mistake. However, she said the shows on her wedding plans were the best ratings "The View" had gotten.

Reynolds' departure closely follows Meredith Vieira leaving the show for NBC's "Today" show. Vieira will be replaced by comedian Rosie O'Donnell, and rumors have circulated that the Reynolds was not thrilled by the addition of O'Donnell. The comedian has criticized Reynolds' 100-pound weight loss, alleging she had gastric bypass surgery.

On Thursday, Reynolds said she did, in fact, have "medical intervention" for her weight and that O'Donnell had misinterpreted how she had lost the weight.

As for O'Donnell's statements about her, Reynolds said, "Rosie and I have always been friends ... so I was really taken aback ... when she went on a very public attack of me and my family." She added she was "shocked by the viciousness of it."

But she said "I will not be in a catfight ... Women professionals need to perform as women professionals."

"I will not denigrate Ms. Walters ever, that's not who I am," Reynolds said, adding that she considered the broadcaster a mentor.

On her replacement, Reynolds said, "It would be nice to see another African American professional, not an actress or comedian."

The CNN interview with Reynolds will air in an encore presentation 9 p.m. Monday on "Larry King Live."

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