“Somebody wanted me gone,” she says in in this week’s issue of PEOPLE. “It was not 100 percent my choice.”
Up until then, Behar, 74, had been a fixture on the daytime ABC series since her start in 1997. The change came a surprise to her.
“When they told me they weren’t renewing, I said, ‘Good, I’m out of here.’ I didn’t like the way the show was going at that time,” she says.
As for why, Behar says she never got a straight answer.
“The way I heard it, and I don’t know what’s true because you never know, they got rid of a Republican so they wanted to get rid of a Democrat,” she says. “That’s not the first time I’ve been fired for my politics. So I wasn’t shocked at that analysis.”
For the next two years, Behar made appearances as a guest co-host, until 2015 when she returned full time for the show’s 19th season.
With Donald Trump running for president, “I went back to do politics,” she says. “They told me, ‘It’s going to be smart, and we’re going to pay you more money.’ ”
Now, Behar says she’s enjoying her job more than ever.
“There’s something about The View that keeps people watching,” she says. “I think it’s the spontaneity, the unpredictability of what’s going to come out of our mouths. The relationships. Some years it works better than others.”
As for her future, Behar has no plans to slow down anytime soon.
“As long as my brain is working, I don’t see how I would retire,” she says.