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For the first time in her decades-long career, talk show host Rosie O’Donnell is opening up about her painful childhood.
The former host of The View and The Rosie O’Donnell Show shared a harrowing look at her early life in a new book called Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of 'The View' by Ramin Setoodeh.
While O’Donnell had previously suggested her father Edward was abusive in a handful of interviews, she revealed to Setoodeh for the first time that he molested her.
"It started very young," O’Donnell said. "And then my mother died, it sort of ended in a weird way, because then he was with these five children to take care of."
O’Donnell’s mother, Roseann, died of breast cancer when the entertainer was only 10 years old.
"On the whole, it’s not something I like to talk about," O'Donnell said about her father. "Of course, it changes everyone. Any child who is put in that position, especially by someone in the family, you feel completely powerless and stuck, because the person you would tell is the person doing it."
While this is the first time O’Donnell has shared her story publicly, she has been an outspoken advocate for several sexual abuse victims, speaking out against notorious entertainment industry predators including Bill Cosby.
"I’m very anti-Roman Polanski and anti-Woody Allen," O'Donnell also told Setoodeh. "It's a pretty clear line for me."
While O’Donnell called her father actions "unforgivable," she told Piers Morgan in 2012 that she did not hold a grudge against him.
"You get to be 50 years old you can’t still be angry at what your father did in 1970," she said. "You have to work it out for yourself and find a place for it in your life and not rehash it forever."
O’Donnell spoke about her ongoing mental health issues last year, while appearing on The Howard Stern Show. "I have major depressive disorder," she told the host "luckily I’m medicated."
Ladies Who Punch will be published on April 2.