Parting is such sweet sorrow. Jenny McCarthy and Sherri Shepherd couldn't help but get a little mushy during The View on Monday, July 7, their first episode back since news of their respective exits broke in late June. Taking their seats at the table with Whoopi Goldberg and guest host Ana Ortiz (of Devious Maids fame), the ABC stars confirmed on air that they would not be returning to the show once their contracts expired in August.
"We're sitting here, and there's a giant neon pink gorilla in the room," Goldberg said at the start of the hour. "We're going to deal with it."
McCarthy, 41—who joined The View in September 2013—addressed the audience first, joking that the "rumors" about her and Shepherd leaving weren't true. "We're staying!" she exclaimed to wild applause. Once the cheers died down, she got serious. "Actually, it is true. But I love the support," she told the crowd.
"Let me tell you what is going on. I am so grateful to have worked with Barbara Walters in her last year, along with many producers and co-hosts," she began. "Upon consideration, I took a new job which allows me to do what I do best, which is talk without interrupting anyone." She didn't go into more detail about the gig, but she did hint at some friendly competition. "I love the fans that supported us, so stay tuned—even if it does compete with The View," she said cryptically.
Shepherd, 47, took center stage next, and almost teared up before she started talking. "A lot of producers have known since the spring that I didn't intend to return after my contract ends in August," she said. Then, seeming to allude to recent reports of strife with her estranged husband Lamar Sally, she added, "I didn't want to discuss anything in my personal life because I didn't want to do anything to distract from Barbara Walters and her [retirement] celebration in May."
She continued: "You know I'm a woman of faith, and seven is the number of God's completion. I've been here seven years, and my time with The View is complete. I'm going to forever be grateful to Barbara Walters and Bill Geddie for taking a chance on an actress and making me learn things, helping me step out of my comfort zone. They gave me a chance."
That chance turned out to be one of the great experiences of Shepherd's life. "I want to say I made friendships and sisterhoods. Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Joy Behar—you are my sister. You have been a mentor to me. I love you so much," she said of her former View co-hosts. "Whoopi Goldberg, she's always had my back."
"I've been blessed to interview Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. He loved that I played a hooker in One for the Money," she went on, reflecting on past milestones. "I get the chance to call Oprah Winfrey a friend, and that's a long way from being a legal secretary who wanted to tell jokes."
As for the future? "I have plans, and I plan to come back to promote the work," she teased. Then, tearing up, she concluded, "Step out, do something that makes you scared. I was scared to do The View." At this, McCarthy grabbed Shepherd's hand across the table. "I love the cast and crew. They made me feel like this is my family," she continued, crying. "Thank you. Thank you."