Appearing recently on the television show “Who Do You Think You Are?”, Rosie O’Donnell got the opportunity to take a close look at her Irish roots.
O’Donnell has often spoke about the heartache of losing her mother when she was only 10. The comedian has been very open about her personal battles with depression and going public with being gay.
Before the show began, the native Long Islander said she was hesitant about what the show would uncover.
"I guess I didn’t want to find out that they lived a life like ‘Angela’s Ashes,’ the Frank McCourt book. And I came to find out it was very similar, if not even harder than the life that Frank McCourt lived, so that was really shocking to me, I think,” she told Examiner.com.
“I really never knew anything about my mother’s side of the family, and so I decided to take this journey with my brother Ed, and I think that was very healing for our relationship. And when I came home and was able to share with my kids some of the stuff that I knew, I think it gave me a way to re-frame my own life.”
Researchers for the show discovered that O’Donnell’s mother and father were much invested in their Irish heritage, something she says changed the way she viewed herself and her “connection to Ireland.”
“We did end up in Ireland, as you might guess from the name O’Donnell. And it was pretty overwhelming to find out some things about the country of Ireland that happened there regarding the people who were suffering during the Potato Famine and what they had to endure.
“I didn’t really know anything about it and it was quite overwhelming,” she said.
Speaking about her new show on the new Oprah Winfrey Network, O’Donnell compared her program, which will debut this falll, to Winfrey’s own long-running talk fest.
“It’s not going to be a bunch of guests coming in to promote a movie. It’s going to be a single topic, one hour, similar to hers. Although nobody can come close to doing what she actually did. That will be the format that we’re copying,” she said.