Abby Huntsman announced she is leaving The View. The former Fox & Friends Weekend host will help run her father Jon Huntsman Jr.'s campaign for governor of Utah. She addressed her decision on Monday's episode.
"Today I'm saying goodbye. It's something I thought a lot about," she began. "This panel is special and I think will always go down as a really crucial time for the show and I'm so thankful for this opportunity. But, as you guys know, my number one priority has always been my family."
Huntsman looked at co-host Whoopi Goldberg and said, "Something that you taught me the first day I got here, you said, 'Your family and your happiness are always number one.' And I was asked months ago by my dad, who's running for governor in Utah to come and help run the campaign. I thought, 'No, it's not the right time.'"
A source familiar with the situation tells Yahoo Entertainment Huntsman will join her dad's campaign as a senior advisor. Jon Huntsman Jr., the former U.S. Ambassador to Russia and former governor of Utah, launched his campaign in November and asked his daughter to help run it over the holidays. Huntsman eventually agreed as she and her dad are very close and public service is important to her and her family.
"There's no one I believe in more than my own dad right now to run for politics," an emotional Huntsman continued. "I get emotional because I do love him so much. But that he believes in me to go help run [his campaign] and it's going to be a fast race. June is the primary and that's what matters, and so, I couldn't be more excited to go help someone that I love. It's not often in life that you get these moments to go fight for something that you are so passionate about."
Huntsman, whose last day on the ABC show will be Friday, concluded by expressing her gratitude to the staff, her co-hosts and the viewers.
"And I tell my dad, I said if The View taught me anything, it taught me how to fight, so whoever is running against my dad, you better be worried because I'm bringing these skills with me," she concluded.
The television personality gave an additional statement to People saying, "Family has always been my number one priority, and is where I need to be focused at this time."
She added, "We are incredibly close and are there to support and help each other when it matters. It’s not often there is a political campaign that involves someone you love and believe in, but this is one of them."
Huntsman — who shares 2-year-old daughter, Isabel, and 7-month-old twins, Ruby and William, with husband Jeffrey Livingston — also wants to spend more time with her family.
"I’m so thankful for this opportunity and for ABC believing in me," she told the magazine. "It was always a dream to sit at The View table. I have the deepest gratitude for all of my co-hosts and the team at The View who don’t get enough credit for what they do every day — I’ve learned so much from each of them and this will always be a special place to me."
Huntsman joined the ABC show for Season 22 in September 2018 as the second conservative voice on the panel alongside Goldberg, Joy Behar, Meghan McCain and Sunny Hostin. Despite reports of turmoil on set, McCain wished her "amazing friend and co-host... nothing but the best on her next chapter!"
Wishing my amazing friend and co-host @HuntsmanAbby nothing but the best on her next chapter! @TheView is less without you and your light. I wish you, your family, & your father @JonHuntsman’s campaign all the absolute best. He’s lucky to have you officially lead his team! ♥️🇺🇸
— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) January 13, 2020
Frequent guest panelist Ana Navarro-Cárdenas tweeted she was "sad" to hear the news. "[Abby] always looks for a positive side to things, tries to be fair and treats everyone with humanity, kindness & civility," the CNN commentator wrote.
Sad to hear @HuntsmanAbby is leaving @TheView. She always looks for a positive side to things, tries to be fair and treats everyone with humanity, kindness & civility.
Wishing her the best as she raises 3 little ones and tackles new challenges in the next chapter of her life.❤️
— Ana Navarro-Cárdenas (@ananavarro) January 13, 2020
An insider close to the show tells Yahoo that Huntsman will always be welcomed back. The View, which is in Season 23, airs at 11 a.m. ET on ABC.
Read more from Yahoo Entertainment:
Want daily pop culture news delivered to your inbox? Sign up here for Yahoo Entertainment & Lifestyle’s newsletter.