By Lindsey Bahr
Updated September 04, 2014 at 11:12 PM EDT
Credit: Susan Watts/NY Daily News via Getty Images

Jenny McCarthy’s 20-year friendship with Joan Rivers actually began with an insult. “I had the privilege of being one of her worst dressed people back at the Academy Awards,” McCarthy told Julia Cunningham and Mario Correa on EW Radio (Sirius XM 105) Thursday after the news broke of Rivers’ passing at age 81.

Over the years, McCarthy would sometimes bring up the embarrassing incident when she was with Rivers. Then, this past year on The View, Rivers told it to her straight. “She said, ‘Honey, listen, if I’m choosing you as worst dressed, it means you’re in the now. It means you kind of made it. So just shut up and deal with it,'” McCarthy said.

The best part of it, though, is that McCarthy knew Rivers was right before the evening was over. “She was spot on. I wore a Valentino dress and I actually wore it backwards,” McCarthy said. “I was wondering why it was so tight in the boobs. She called me out for wearing it badly. I didn’t realize I was wearing it backwards till Valentino came up to me at the Vanity Fair party and said, ‘darling, you’re wearing my dress backwards.’ I had the privilege of winning an award from her and have been friends with her since.”

As for those who don’t know Rivers’ work or legacy as well as they might now hope, McCarthy recommends the intimate 2010 documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work. “It’s not only to get to know Joan, but to get to know what life is like with someone who is so dedicated to her craft,” she said. “I encourage anybody who’s not seen that movie to check it out. I think Joan would be happy for people to see that as her true self.”

Listen to more clips from the EW Radio interview below.