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When Rosie O’Donnell’s new HBO documentary debuts on Sunday, she won’t just be talking about the film’s core message, she’ll be living it.
The O’Donnell-produced A Family Is a Family Is a Family is a documentary where kids in nontraditional families talk about their lives, and the film features musical elements (inspired by Marlo Thomas’ 1970s kids' TV special Free to Be… You and Me) celebrating the love and support found in families of all kinds.
Meanwhile, O’Donnell, who appears in the film briefly, has not just tweaked tradtions in forming her own family, she’s proudly shattered them. In 2004, the former talk-show host and gay rights activist celebrated a same-sex marriage with TV executive Kelli Carpenter and together, they've been raising four children. Since their split (according to O’Donnell, Carpenter moved out of their home two years ago), they now coparent the children while living under separate roofs.
O’Donnell, 47, is planning on creating a bigger family when she moves in with her new love, Texas-based artist Tracy Kachtick-Anders, who has six kids of her own.
Earlier this week on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Oprah asked, "So you're gonna blend the families? The six kids and the four kids... "
"Yes," replied O'Donnell. "Can you imagine?"
"No," said Winfrey.
"I know," said O'Donnell. "A lot of people can't."
O’Donnell also told Winfrey that she committed herself to the documentary project because she "wanted to show people that gay families are just like every other family, and sometimes, divorce happens. No one ever goes into a marriage expecting or wanting a divorce."
In the upcoming documentary, O’Donnell diplomatically addresses her breakup with Carpenter after ten years together, telling daughter Vivienne, “Even though Kelli and I aren’t living in the same house anymore, family is forever.”
“I wanted to touch on the situation [with Kelli]...” O’Donnell told the Daily Beast. “I didn’t want to ignore it and pretend it wasn’t happening, but I also didn’t want to exploit it in any way.”
As for how she discusses changes in the family, she added, “I think how we did it was good. That’s how we talk to the kids, both Kelli and I, we tell them the truth. And, you know, the sentiments that I express in that piece with her is what I truly feel . . . that a family is forever.”
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