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Whoopi Goldberg is notoriously private about her personal life, but on Friday morning, the longtime The View moderator opened up about her complicated relationship with her father, who left when she was an infant. While Whoopi admitted that she initially thought her father "didn't like" her, she has since realized that he could never provide what she needed. "We know lots of people who can't be what we would like them to be, what they might like to be," said Whoopi. "But we can respect them for who they are."
With just three co-hosts on hand — Sara Haines, Joy Behar, and Sunny Hostin were all out, and Eboni K. Williams filled in as a guest co-host alongside Whoopi and Ana Navarro — Friday's episode of The View struck a more emotional note. Whoopi, Navarro, and Williams all got choked up during a Hot Topic about Kelly Rowland reuniting with her estranged father, and they were open about their complicated relationships with their own fathers. While Williams revealed that she and her biological father, who she located just last year, have "yet to be able to build a relationship," she remains open to it. "As long as there's breath in his body, my heart and headspace remains open for the possibility of a relationship," said the RHONY star.
"I adored my dad. I adore him still. But I thought he was perfect," added Navarro. "And when I found out throughout my life that he wasn't perfect, there were times when we were estranged. And then one day I had a lightbulb moment, an 'aha' moment, where it dawned on me that I shouldn't judge him as a man. I shouldn't judge him as my mom's husband. I should judge him as the kind of dad he was to me, and I was spectacular."
Navarro stopped herself when she saw that Whoopi was getting "misty-eyed" next to her. "I just want to remind everybody that our parents are just human," said Whoopi. "Sometimes, they're not able to be what you need them to be. It's not in them."
DESTIGMATIZING SHAME AROUND FAMILY ESTRANGEMENT: #TheView panel weighs in after singer Kelly Rowland opened up about reconnecting with her dad after being estranged for 30 years, saying it made her realize that it wasn’t necessarily his fault that he couldn’t be there for her. pic.twitter.com/dLbSP5rj31— The View (@TheView) March 18, 2022
"For me, Bob was in, he was out. He was around, he wasn't there. It was like, okay, fine," she continued. "My mother always said, 'Listen, your relationship is your relationship.' She never said anything bad about him, never pushed me away from him. But what I saw of him — he seemed like a good dude, I could hang with him a little bit, but not a lot. And I felt bad for about two days."
When Williams asked if she "ever thought his in and out was about you," Whoopi confirmed as much. "I thought he didn't like me," she said with a laugh. "My mother said, 'What is wrong with you?' And I said, 'Well, I just think he'd be around if he liked me.' And he said, 'What he can do, he can do. He can't be what you need him to be. Maybe one day he will be, but that's not who he is right now. So if you want to know him, this is the one you have to get to know.' And that's how it worked out. It was alright."
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Claire Spellberg Lustig is the TV Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.