It wouldn’t be a View-tiful farewell if it didn’t involve a little emotion, a little bubbly and a little bit of setting the record straight.
Co-host Abby Huntsman took some time on Friday’s episode of the ABC chat show — her last — to reflect on her two seasons as she heads now to work on her dad’s campaign to be Utah’s governor.
She spoke fondly about what her time on The View had meant to her.
“This show, people go nuts with rumors on this show, and this week has been no exception,” she said, referring to a fresh wave of reports in CNN and elsewhere about tensions between the co-hosts including her and Meghan McCain.
“But I just want to be as clear as I possibly can,” Huntsman, 33, continued on Friday. “This has been a dream come true. This has been an incredible job, and I do love everyone at this table. You guys see the ups and downs of all of our [lives] — Meghan has been — you’ve seen what she’s been through in her life, you guys live it with us. And it’s not easy to come out here and be so open and honest and talk about the hardest topics of the day. I have so much respect for everyone at this table and for everyone at this show.”
Fellow panelist Joy Behar then joked, “You can still change your mind.”
Huntsman continued: “I just want to make it as clear as day, with everything that has been written about this place, that I am leaving so thankful for all the new friends that I have here, for all the friends I had before and will still have and for the opportunity because this place has changed my life for the better.”
PEOPLE was first to report the news this week that Huntsman would be leaving The View. One of the show’s conservative voices, she previously worked at Fox News. Her dad, Jon Huntsman Jr., most recently served as U.S. ambassador to Russia before launching his gubernatorial bid.
“Family has always been my No. 1 priority, and is where I need to be focused at this time,” Huntsman said in a statement earlier this week, announcing her departure. “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.”
On Friday’s show, co-hosts Behar, 77, and Ana Navarro-Cárdenas both shared well wishes for her. The episode also included a highlight reel of Huntsman’s time — from the serious (such as interviewing Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump) to the silly (dressing up like Lady Gaga, meat dress and all).
Behar, in the moderator’s seat on Friday, took a wry and affectionate tone. “They wrote this for me but I believe this: From day one no matter how heated things got on ‘hot topics,’ she always kept her calm — true — she has a positive spirit, actually it was annoying sometimes how positive you were,” she told Huntsman. “But this is the thing about her: She never baked down when she was speaking truth to power.”
McCain, a friend since their time together at Fox News, said Friday, “You better come back.”
“I will,” Huntsman told her.
On Monday’s show, McCain, 35, said Huntsman was “such a bright light in everyone’s life.”
“You always see the good in everything,” McCain said then. “You’ve been a friend forever. I’m heartbroken you’re leaving but I can understand better than anybody how important it is to go support your dad. They are special moments. The best of my life was with my dad doing the same thing. I totally get it.”