Sherri Shepherd Says Barbara Walters Once Told Her to ‘Read a Book’ to Better Defend Herself on ‘The View’

Sherri Shepherd is opening up about the growing pains she experienced during her time on The View. The comedian looks at her tenure on the show through a new lens, being able to reflect on both the good and bad moments as a co-host at the roundtable. And Shepherd says the most difficult part of being on the show was dealing with Barbara Walters’ harsh judgments.

Sherri Shepherd and Barbara Walters
Sherri Shepherd and Barbara Walters | Lou Rocco/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

Sherri Shepherd recalls Barbara Walters’ criticism of her on ‘The View’

Shepherd began her hosting duties on The View in 2007. Prior to this, her career was filled with touring the standup circuit and guest appearances on various comedy series. The roundtable was a way to show her depth outside of acting and comedy.

But Shepherd says she was not necessarily welcomed with warm arms, particularly by Walters. According to Shepherd, Walters was tough on her from the start, and her tough-love approach didn’t get any easier to digest as time went on.

Source: YouTube

RELATED: ‘The View:’ Sherri Shepherd’s Co-Hosting Career Almost Ended Because of One Conversation

“Barbara was so hard on me. I cried for three years in my dressing room because she was so hard on me, but she did it out of love,” she tells People in a new interview. 

To make things worse, Shepherd also had feelings of insecurity due to scrutiny from others who were fans of the show. People reports that Wendy Williams once said on her daytime talk show that Shepherd could be “replaced with a potato sack,” an innuendo that Shepherd couldn’t hold her own during heated debates. 

Walters apparently took the criticism about Shepherd seriously and confronted Shepherd with her own.

“I love you,” Shepherd says Walters told her. “I just need you to read a book, dear, and learn to defend what you believe. And speak up.”

Of her time on the show, Shepherd says it helped with her evolution. “It was the most painful experience that I’ve ever gone through, but it was the best experience,” she says.

Other former hosts have also been open about Barbara Walters criticism during their time on ‘The View’

Fans of The View might remember the moment audio leaked of an emotional Elisabeth Hasselbeck threatening to quit the show due to feeling berated by Walters on air. The two disagreed over a new morning-after pill that could be purchased over the counter. 

Walters became frustrated with Hasselbeck as Hasselbeck refused to let others join in on the discussion. So Walters interrupted her, quieting Hasselbeck. 

Hasselbeck did not turn her microphone off during commercial break and was heard swearing, crying, and threatening to quit over feeling Walters was treating her as a child. They later made amends on air.

Source: YouTube

RELATED: Inside Meghan McCain and Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s Coronavirus Feud and Their Supportive Relationship Beforehand

Jenny McCarthy has also been critical of Walters’ behavior, likening Walters’ attitude to an abusive mother. 

“You know the movie Mommie Dearest?” McCarthy says in a tell-all book Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View. “I remember as a child watching that movie and going, ‘Holy cow!’ I’ve never seen a woman yell like that before until I worked with Barbara Walters.”

McCarthy says her experience on the show is the worst of her career.