View  photos of Star Jones and her celebrity friends »

On her former “The View” cohosts:
“Those girls were hateful”
But the weight loss, which she chalked up to a “medical intervention,” and the questions swirling around her marriage led to a credibility problem. Her negatives allegedly began to rise with viewers, and ABC didn’t renew her contract in April 2006. Two months later, on June 27, Star stunned viewers—and Walters especially—by announcing her own departure live on the air. At that point Star was ready to go. “Those girls were hateful,” she says of the way her cohosts treated her as she was leaving the show. 

On her gastric-bypass surgery:
Star looked in the mirror at her then 300-pound body and felt ashamed. She reached out to a female friend and got the name of a doctor, who performed her gastric-bypass surgery in 2003. “That surgery saved my life,” Star says. “I know some people say, `She did it the easy way.’ But it has been the hardest struggle of my life to get healthy.” 

On rumors about her ex-husband’s sexuality:
Three months after she had the surgery, Star met banker Al Reynolds. Starlet Marie Jones married Al Reynolds on November 13, 2004, a year to the day they first met. She was 42 and he was 34. If viewers were asking questions about the incredibly shrinking Star Jones, bloggers and gossip columnists were asking stinging questions about Reynolds. There were whispers and innuendos about her husband’s sexuality. “I knew the truth of our marriage,” she says. “Once you know what’s true, there are some people who are not going to believe you no matter what.” 

On her and Barbara Walter’s fragile relationship:
 Shortly after Star announced she was divorcing Reynolds, Walters released her memoir, “Audition.” The television icon mentioned in the book that she and Star had breakfast some time after Star left the show and intimated all was well. It wasn’t—as viewers discovered when Walters did the obligatory “Oprah” appearance to promote the book. The first 15 minutes of that show were spent on Star, who felt Walters wasted that time “trashing” her. “Barbara set me up,” she now says of the all-is-well breakfast. “I wouldn’t return her call for six months. Whoopi [Goldberg] came on to do my show and delivered a handwritten note from Barbara. Whoopi said, `[Meet with her] for me.’ And I said, `Out of friendship with you, Whoopi, I will.’ Otherwise I would have never sat down with her ever again.”

On her battling depression:
Star retreated to her home. While feeling good about finally speaking her mind after a long silence about Walters, she didn’t feel great about her life: “I knew I couldn’t spend another day in New York; I felt myself falling into a depression.”

Read the full interview in the November issue of ESSENCE on newsstands now.