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Barbara Walters apologized to Elizabeth Vargas after alcoholism comment on 'The View'

USMagazine, Friday, February 7, 2014, 6:00am (PST)
  • Another awkward moment on "The View." Following her fight with co-host Sherri Shepherd earlier this week over defending Woody Allen, Barbara Walters found herself in another uncomfortable discussion while interviewing colleague Elizabeth Vargas on her battle with alcoholism. The 84-year-old veteran journalist seemed to imply that Vargas' colleagues at ABC "all knew" she was an alcoholic before she admitted it to the public.

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    "20/20" anchor Vargas, 51, opened up to the ladies of "The View" on Feb. 6 about how she used alcohol to cope with a lifelong struggle with anxiety, and hid it from her family, friends and coworkers.

    "What finally happened that made you say, 'OK, it's time to get help?'" co-host Jenny McCarthy asked.

    "Well, I showed up for a shoot on '20/20' and I was in no condition to shoot that interview," Vargas explained.

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    "Well, we knew," veteran journalist Walters, 84, interjected. "I'm very fond of Elizabeth and very proud of her. We knew, but that's not the same as finally, in that sense, hitting the bottom."

    "No, but what triggered her to say, 'It's time for me ... " McCarthy clarified, before Walters interrupted, "It was public at that point."

    "No, it wasn't," Vargas said, turning to look at Walters.

    "No, but we all knew," Walters said, looking confused.

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    Though the exchange may have felt uncomfortable to viewers, Walters and Vargas have since denied that there were any hurt feelings over the remark. Walters did, however, call Vargas to apologize.

    "I love Elizabeth and have great admiration for her," the "View" host told the New York Post's Page Six. "I never would have deliberately said anything to hurt her, and I called to tell her that."

    Vargas told Page Six, "This is silly! Barbara is a colleague and a friend."

    The journalist announced back in November that she was seeking treatment for alcohol abuse. After her stint in rehab, she admitted in a Jan. 24 interview with "Good Morning America" personality George Stephanopoulos: "I am. I am an alcoholic."

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