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Star Jones returns to 'The View' for first time after abrupt departure

UPI News Service, 02/23/2012 

Star Jones, former co-host of "The View," returned to the New York talk show as a guest for the first time in the five years since her abrupt departure.

Show star and executive producer Barbara Walters told Jones in 2006 her contract had not be renewed for the following season. At the time, Walters said Jones could finish out the season and tell people what she wanted about why she wasn't coming back.

Jones then announced on the air she was leaving immediately, taking Walters and her other co-hosts Joy Behar and Elisabeth Hasselbeck by surprise.

Welcomed as a guest to appear on Wednesday's edition of "The View" to raise awareness about heart disease, Jones was quickly grilled by Walters about how and why she left the show nearly six years ago.

"Oh, Barbara, are you really gonna go there?" the New York Post reported Jones said. "Do we care, at this point in my career? I honestly don't."

Walters explained she brought up the matter because "people ask us all the time" why Jones left the show.

"What happened was your contract was not renewed, and [co-producer] Bill [Geddie] and I said to you: 'You can say whatever you want. You can say you have another assignment.' We were trying to protect you. You said, yes, you were going to do that -- instead, you surprised us on the air. Why did you do that?" Walters asked.

"It was ugly," Jones said. "Everything was ugly. It was a bad emotional time, there were nasty, ugly things being said in the media. It was just not a good emotional time. I made the decision I wanted to go out on my own terms. I wanted to control it."

Behar also pressed Jones to admit she had her co-stars repeatedly lie for her, saying her drastic weight loss in 2003 was due to diet and pilates, not bariatric surgery.

"We were trying to protect you a lot when you were here," the Post quoted Behar as saying. "We were told: 'Don't say it was gastric bypass. Say it was pilates.'"

"I said, 'Don't talk about my private way I decided to lose weight,' because when you all had private things, I did not discuss it," Jones said. "I know you guys didn't understand why, in this place that should have felt like my home, I didn't feel safe enough to come out and talk about it."

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Copyright 2012 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any repr

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