"We tried very hard to make it work in different configurations and to try to stay together and allow each other to grow and evolve and find joy," she says.
Now, Rosie considers herself divorced from Kelli, though they didn't have to go through legal proceedings. But, even after a breakup, Rosie says most lesbian couples stay connected. "It sounds maybe a little bit elitist, and I'm not trying to say it's better. I just think it's a different paradigm," she says. "[For] women, usually in relationships, the emotional connection is really the most intense, and so when they break up, I have found they stay connected. Every woman that I have ever been with, besides one, is still in my life."
Rosie says she wasn't unhappy with Kelli, but as she got older, she realized how different they were.
"I think that what you want and need at 30, which is when I met Kelli—I was 35—is very different than what you want and need at 40 and 45," she says. "I think, in some ways, we both came back to our authentic selves. And who we were authentically wasn't as great of a match as who we were when we met in the midst of my show and fame and in the midst of her big career at Nickelodeon."
Rosie says she spent the first half of their relationship doing her talk show, and after she quit, things changed. She spent more time alone, and realized she and Kelli needed to find more joy in their lives. "The joy we did find was with our children, but not necessarily with each other, or within our own life separate, as adult women," she says.