Star Jones

The daytime host returns to gab, minus the flab.

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Illustration: Rob Kelly

After roughly six years as The View's larger-than-life diva—plus about three as its mysteriously shrinking one—Star Jones has emerged from her 2006 divorce from Barbara Walters as a very skinny, very polarizing woman. The prosecutor-turned-TV-personality has caught hell for a number of choices, the biggest being her refusal to discuss her weight loss. One suspects her detractors aren't about to be won over by the recent surprise-to-no-one revelation—that she underwent gastric bypass—an announcement timed uncomfortably close to the premiere of her new talk show on Court TV. Trying to sound conversational (but at times coming off as defensive), she spoke to us by phone from the Long Island home she shares with her husband, investment banker and rumor magnet Al Reynolds.

What's your new show going to be like?

It's a daily live talk show with top stories, pop culture, entertainment, law and current events. I believe we're living in a time when pop culture and the law intersect daily.

Well yeah, just look at Paris and Lindsay.

What interests me is how their behavior affects people who look up to them. When seventh and eighth graders define themselves through different young women who are actors or actresses, singers, dancers—so-called celebrities who you can't really define what they do, we just know who they are...

Celebutards, you mean? That's what people call them.

I don't understand. What's the tard portion of it? I get the celeb part.

It's from retard.

Really?!?

Yes. It's not a nice word.

Not a nice word at all! I would never call anybody that!

Did you miss being on The View after you were fired?

I missed being on television and bonding with my audience every day. I missed that desperately.

What did you think of the Rosie and Elisabeth Hasselbeck drama?

I was very proud of Elisabeth. I think she has come into her own and feels confident stating her opinion and not backing down, even though I disagree with everything that's ever come out of her mouth. But you can disagree with your friends without engaging in destruction. That's not good television, that's a train wreck, and I don't want to watch that.

But let's say you were just a viewer—you don't think you'd want to watch that?

I didn't! I was just a viewer. I had been gone for a year and I was not compelled.

Why did you choose to come out now about your gastric bypass surgery?

In my therapy, it's the right time, because I'm emotionally capable of handling all the questions. I lost the weight initially through gastric bypass, but it doesn't stay off by itself. This is four years later.

Do you ever have dreams where you're yourself at a heavier weight, and does that freak you out?

No, I don't. It's very hard to see myself in my mind's eye bigger, and I think part of that is, I never saw myself in my mind's eye that big— that was part of the problem.

How do you feel about the rumors and gossip about your husband's sexuality?

He's my husband, so I couldn't care less what you all think, in all honesty. There's nobody that knows my husband that has a mean word to say about him. No one.

Oh. Okay, okay. Is there anything else you want to say?

You asked me lots of questions about what I thought and how I felt, and I am 1,000 percent ready to go there, because that's what the show's going to be about. But I've learned to separate the professional Star from the personal Star, and I want you to know that I talk to my husband, I don't need to talk about him anymore—that's the best part about marriage: It's yours, he belongs to you, and I'm protective of what belongs to me.

Star Jones premieres on Court TV Mon 20.

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