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Fans of The View have come to expect some politics, thanks to its co-hosts, but two women who sat at the show's table in 2015 and 2016, Candace Cameron Bure and Raven-Symoné, said they were promised that the show they were joining would be different.
On Monday's episode of the show's Behind the Table podcast, the women explained the difficulty of being on the ABC daytime talker, beginning with the fact that they were thrown into a space where they were forced to get political in front of the world, which they hadn't expected.
"I was pitched a completely different direction," Bure said, "because that was my hesitation. I said, 'Politics is not, it's not my bag. I've never spoken publicly about politics. I don't even come from a political family, meaning I didn’t grow up speaking about politics.' So they had told me, 'We're going so much lighter,' a lot more would be evergreen. We want to talk more about family and sex and life, so I was, like, absolutely, 100 percent, I'm onboard. And then it all changed when Trump entered the race."
The show's daily "Hot Topics" segment was heavy on political exchanges, and it was just as surprising for Symoné, as she explained to Sara Haines, who co-hosted the show with both women and works there again today.
"Sara, I got catfished. I feel like I just got catfished," Symoné said. "I thought I was going on a show, like Candace, where it was pop culture and fun and exciting and I got catfished, and I learned a good lesson."
Both Bure, 45, and Symoné, 35, began working in the entertainment industry as children. As adults, both had been excited about proving that they had more to offer, but their jobs turned into something else entirely. They agreed that the most difficult part of the job for them was the emotion that came with it.
"The stress and the anxiety," said Bure, who flew back and forth from Los Angeles, where she lived, to New York City, where the show taped weekly. "I actually have a pit in my stomach right now . . . It was so difficult. I mean to manage that emotional stress was very, very hard. And then on top of it, same thing, just the topics. Just trying to understand and have a general grasp of topics that I didn't want to talk about. Or didn't care about."
Bure said that she had felt pressure to represent Christians and politically conservative women.
"My schedule took its toll on my body, which affected my emotional health. And then when I felt like I was going into a show that I didn't have a clear opinion about, or it was something that I was legitimately nervous to talk about because I did have an opinion about it, but I knew I was gonna be the only one at the table that had my opinion, I would just get sick to my stomach, and I hated that feeling," Bure said. "And then I'm like, I don’t know who's gonna come at me . . . and not in a mean way, because nobody came at me in a mean way. To me, I felt like everyone had their opinion but was respectful for the most part. But I was also told so many times, 'If someone comes at you with a different opinion, you have to go back a second time.' I want to share my opinion. I want to listen to yours. And then I wanna back off. But I was always told by the producers . . . [go back another time.] And I didn't like that."
Knowing that she would have to do that made her "sick" to her stomach. Bure added that "so many mornings, I would just be crying before the show."
Meanwhile, Symoné was all too aware that she was the only woman on the panel at the time who was part of the LGBTQ+ community.
"Outwardly, the pressure I felt was the LGBTQ+ community, because I was the only one on the panel with that label. And I'm not a fan of holding an entire community on my shoulders, because again . . . like Candace said, even in your own community, people will get mad at you. So I really didn't like that. And so, on an everyday basis, I knew what I was there for — to represent that slice of life, but when I was speaking, I blacked that part out, because I knew that it would inhibit me from being myself. And it would inhibit me from actually speaking my truth, because I'm worried about other people."
Both women credited producers and Whoopi Goldberg, who has moderated the show since 2007, with helping them in those dark days.
"The only reason I really got through a lot of the stuff that I did get through was because of Whoopi and the producers as well," Symoné said. "There is something amazing about behind the scenes of The View that kind of puts the salve over all the BS that's going on on camera that made it tolerable to stay as long as we did. And I have to say, give it up to Whoopi, because it takes a very strong woman, very clearheaded, to be in that captain's seat, and I can see why she's been there for so long."
Both women left the show in 2016 — Symoné because Disney decided to revive her former show, That's So Raven, and make it Raven's Home, which she has produced and directed. She had retired from acting before that, so she credits The View with getting her face out in the world again.
And Bure, who was working on Fuller House and Hallmark movies, left because she "just couldn't manage it all" anymore, so she decided The View is what needed to go.
"The View, by far, was the toughest job," she said. "And as soon as Donald Trump won that election, I was like, this has got to go, because I could not, I did not want to be the punching bag for the next four years in that conservative seat. I just didn't want to. And it wasn't worth it to me. It wasn't worth my mental health, which was already suffering, so it was a very easy decision."
She said she's in touch daily with people she met from the show.