A little more than a year after she was fired from her cohost slot on The View, Star Jones is making a small-screen comeback with her eponymous new Court TV show, premiering Aug. 20. For the former prosecutor, the move represents a return to her roots — and an opportunity to overcome her reputation for being a self-absorbed daytime-TV diva. Jones, 45, recently sat down with EW to talk about life since The View, her relationship with her former colleagues, and finally coming clean about her 2003 gastric bypass surgery.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Did you have any trepidation about returning to TV?
STAR JONES: I did. It worried me because being in the public eye can be both intoxicating and toxic. It takes a level of maturity to be able to balance both of those and I needed to make sure I had matured enough that I could and that I wanted to.
Why is your new program called Star Jones instead of Star Jones Reynolds?
My husband [Al Reynolds] and I talked about it. We wanted to separate the two specifically because it will telegraph that there’s a professional part of me and then there’s a personal part.
What’s the difference?
The professional part is subject to all the scrutiny in the world because I can defend what I say and think. But I don’t ever want to put myself in the position of having to defend my life and the people I love. You won’t hear interviews about [my husband and me] personally, you won’t see what our bedroom looks like, what my closet looks like — we’re not doing that anymore.
Were you surprised by the vitriolic response to your weight loss before you admitted having gastric bypass surgery?
I was shocked in the beginning that people attacked me, but I think that had more to do with arrogance and naïveté — thinking I could pick and choose what to make public about myself. I was very public about other things and I think the audience rightly said, ”But wait, you’ve told us all of this, why are you gonna leave this out?!”
NEXT PAGE: Jones on Whoopi Goldberg, her contact with her former cohosts since leaving The View, and Rosie