Heather McDonald: ‘I lived in fear, 100% lived in fear’ working with Chelsea Handler


I can’t tell you how happy I am that Chelsea Handler is no longer a thing. Back in 2014, she pulled out of her E! show Chelsea Lately and the buzz was that she was moving on to bigger and better things. Handler’s publicist made sure she was mentioned to replace David Letterman, and many thought she would end up doing network TV work. Then she signed on for an ill-defined Netflix show and she kind of disappeared off everyone’s radar. I mean, she’s still active on social media and she occasionally gets stories in gossip press, but no one really cares anymore. And it’s awesome! There was always something “off” about Handler, and as it turns out, even her friends and coworkers noticed it too. During Chelsea Lately, comedian Heather McDonald was a frequent guest/contributor to the show, and Heather recently spoke about how working with Chelsea Handler means “living in fear.”

Comedian Heather McDonald doesn’t like the way she was handled by a controversial late-night star. McDonald, who was a roundtable regular on Chelsea Handler’s E! show Chelsea Lately, said she and most of the crew were scared of the host.

“I lived in fear, 100 percent lived in fear. I enjoyed my time there, I was happy, but something could happen and my heart would be beating and I’d be like ‘is this it?” she said. In a promo for Matt Weiss and Theo Von’s “Allegedly” podcast, the “You’ll Never Blue Ball in This Town Again” author felt blindsided when Handler didn’t tell people on set she was bowing out.

In July, the “Uganda Be Kidding Me” stand-up star announced she was leaving E! to work for Netflix.

“I think she’s a good person, I don’t agree with how she treats relationships in her life,” McDonald said on the podcast, which airs Tuesday. “I think she’s missing out by dumping people.” Adding: “She makes you feel so special, until you’re not.”

Handler inked a seven-year deal with Netflix. Her new four-part docuseries premieres Saturday. She’ll also launch a new talk show on the streaming service after the documentaries air.

[From The NYDN]

It’s good to see some kind of confirmation of how Handler has always seemed to me: someone who can turn on a dime, someone moody, someone not really invested in personal or professional friendships unless she can get something out of it to advance herself in some way. I’ve been around people like this too: “but something could happen and my heart would be beating and I’d be like ‘is this it?’” Those people scare me.

Chelsea has already responded, obviously. Handler was on Howard Stern’s show yesterday, talking about her friendship with Jennifer Aniston and all of that. Handler said Heather sold stories about her to the tabloids and instead of firing Heather, Handler let her keep working for the show as a writer but after Handler learned of the betrayal, they were never close. You can read more about that here.


Photos courtesy of WENN.

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60 Responses to “Heather McDonald: ‘I lived in fear, 100% lived in fear’ working with Chelsea Handler”

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  1. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    Hmm. I’ve always thought Chelsea had a mean streak and a high school mentality because of the way she approached the divorce of JA and BP by attacking AJ. I’m very loyal to my friends, but I disagree with her way of “helping.” On the other hand, there seems to be two sides to this story, and I always err on the side of caution when talking about a former employer. I don’t think it’s very professional of this woman to bad mouth Chelsea. Also, her accusation is very vague. I’m taking it with a grain of salt.

    • Maya says:

      @Goodnamesalltaken: the whole point is that Chelsea was not around when Jennifer and Brad divorced – she didn’t get in the scenes until 2010 or so.

      The whole thing with Jennifer using Chelsea as her mouthpiece against Angelina was evident when Chelsea called Angelina and her children with vile names some even racist slurs right after she went on a holiday with Jennifer.

      Chelsea used to brutally attack Jennifer for years when she first started and only said some small funny things about Angelina. Then bam – Jennifer bought Chelsea and went on holidays with her and Chelsea started to praise Jennifer and brutally attack Angelina.

      Chelsea is not funny and gives real female comedians a bad reputation – she slept with a married with children TV producer and then had the audacity to call someone a home wrecker.

      It has been known for years that Chelsea is a mean girl and women who are friends with her share the same mean personality trait – Reese, Sandra, Jennifer, Charlize and one by one is being exposed for what they really are.

      • Goats on the Roof says:

        Can we PLEASE dispense with this ridiculous notion that Jennifer Aniston “forced” Chelsea Handler to say nasty things about Angelina and the kids already? Chelsea is a grown damn woman and said what she said without a gun to her head. She said them, got a huge reaction, and then continued to say nasty crap because she wanted people talking about her. I know you don’t think much of Jennifer Aniston and Angelina is, like, your god, but cut the woman some slack, won’t you? Jennifer is not responsible for what other people say about her ex-husband or her ex’s new wife and kids.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        I think my post was confusing, sorry. We agree that Chelsea was mean to AJ and there is no excuse for the things she said about the children, or any of it. Completely inappropriate. When I said there were two sides of this story, I meant the story Heather is telling about how Chelsea treated HER, not the AJ story. I believe Chelsea is awful, I just wonder what really happened with Heather because she doesn’t really give specifics. I expressed it very poorly and don’t wonder that you thought I was doubting that Chelsea was terrible to AJ.

      • FLORC says:

        Well since this is where the thread has headed… Goats. I doubt Handler would have said those things or continued to do so if Aniston wasn’t on board.
        Handler has always struck me as a brown nosing faker. A user.
        Exactly how it’s being put in the article and thread.

        Handler is responsible for her own actions. Absolutely. Was a gn needed? or was having a close friend in Aniston enough to find a new target in Jolie?
        She really came out swinging when they started hanging out more. And it was pure hate from all racial angles. If nothing else Handler came out with such strong and vile opinions there must have been some discussion. That they’ve remained close doesn’t mean Aniston isn’t apssively at the very least approving of this behavior.

      • Snappyfish says:

        Spot On Maya!! Never liked Handler. Some of the people on her show where mildly entertaining. Handler got her show by sleeping with the boss, her friends by pandering to them & doing their dirty work. Unfunny & way to thirsty. I doubt the Netflix will go well

      • lucy2 says:

        I remember Handler being mean towards Angelina long before she was friends with Jen. And I also remember her being mean towards many, MANY other celebrities in that time too. That was her schtick.

        She definitely strikes me as someone who is friends until she has no use for you anymore. Sadly there are a lot of people like that out in the world.

      • VirgiliaCoriolanus says:

        My grandma had one of her books, and I skimmed through it–it was the one that came out in 2008 (I just noted the date, when I saw she had talked about AJ),……but she was all (when her sister wanted to go see MAMS when it came out)….”I’m not supporting Angelina Jolie, she’s a homewrecker!”…..again, ignoring Brad. Which I suppose made her fit right in with Jennifer, but I laughed when I saw that. She specifically, in her book, called out AJ as a homewrecker as the reason she wouldn’t see a movie…..no mention of Brad. I don’t even remember her using his name in that little section.

        Lol, you know I am a dyed in wool Brangeloonie…so totally agree. I think in some way, either by not saying anything or what, Jennifer encouraged it. Why else would someone who didn’t even know you, wasn’t even friends with you…..be so fixated on a divorce that happened 5/6 years before you even met? And Jennifer, the woman, who as aptly demonstrated with her post in CB today, with an infomercial about Smartwater and bikinis at 80, has her PR guy on speed dial….didn’t know what Handler was doing? Please.

      • Zwella Ingrid says:

        @ FLORC I agree. I think at the least their was some discussion of AJ between JA and Handler. We would have to be naive to think otherwise.

      • CLINIQUA. says:

        When Handler got backlash for her constant Jolie attacks a few years back, she tried to deflect by saying, ‘Oh, I’ve always ‘made fun’ of her, blah blah.’

        Handler is so many awful gross things, let’s not be surprised if she’s also a liar and disingenuous.

        Making fun of people and the occasional wisecrack we get – that’s par for the course when you want to call yourself a comedian, or even an insult comic.

        But her 2008-2009 and onward Jolie obsession/hatred was not funny, or comical. It was just disturbing and vicious. When questioned about it, she got defensive and further maligned Jolie’s character despite not knowing her and having never met her. There were no punch lines, she wasn’t trying to be humorous.

        I believe it was calculated. As some have said, Handler pre-2008, ridiculed the whole triangle. Aniston got it the worst, because her skits portrayed her as the loser sad sack spinster who no one wanted. While Jolie was just the femme fatale and earth mother. One Handler skit had aniston as a contestant on a low budget ‘dating game,’ with bums and undesirables – the joke was, none of them wanted her either.

        Once Handler signed with Aniston’s longtime bestie and power PR guy Huvane in 2008-2009, she retired the aniston ridicule for good and set her sights on maligning and attacking Angelina full time whenever she got the chance. I believe it was encouraged and perhaps in exchange for PR services rendered demanded.

        It’s no coincidence this was the same year, Aniston appeared to publicly end her grudge with Pitt, while starting a cat fight with Angelina (uncool Vogue, and a snarky GQ piece dissing Angie) before 2008-2009 Aniston was pretty much just po’d at Brad (which did her no good as no one hates Brad) But a cat fight with Angie got her tons more mileage in woman oriented mags and rags, and kept the triangle not only alive but made it thrive.

        Handler dovetailed on Aniston’s cat clawing and went in hard all while vacationing with her new bestie.

        This went on for years. As recently as Handler’s promotion for her last book (Uganda whatever) she and Goop sat on a stage and ripped Angelina without name dropping her, as Goopyth pretended she was James Lipton asking Handler dumb questions. It was a crass and again unwarranted baseless attack. But no surprise as Paltrow is also repped by Huvane, and he uses his middle age female clients to hype each other.

        Bottom line: of course it was done with Aniston’s approval. This is strategy from their shared PR guy. Handler stopped making Aniston look like a loser, and went in on Jolie, extending the triangle…along with Aniston who uncoincidentally at the same time…did the same thing in print and on Oprah.

      • joan says:

        Chelsea may be more than just a mean girl from high school.

        Her drinking and drugs may affect her personality and moodiness.

        Or she may have Borderline Personality Disorder or be a sociopath or something. Not diagnosing — she seems to have great self-discipline when she’s sucking up to Jen. But the way she snaps when it’s someone sucking up to her, and the hostility, seems extreme. Maybe she’s just a spoiled brat, but she always gives hints that she’s been abused.

        I always had the feeling the regulars on that show were watching their back and a little twitchy about CH. Especially McD.

    • Louise177 says:

      Agree that Chelsea is very high school. I think she’s into being in the “in-crowd”. It’s laughable how up Jennifer’s butt she is. The funny/weird thing about Chelsea’s hatred of Angelina is that she wasn’t even friends with Jennifer when she was married to Brad. They met at least three years after. In fact she made more fun of Jennifer than Angelina. Her attitude is bizarre given years long friends don’t care about Brad and Angelina but Chelsea is emotionally scarred for life.

    • tmc says:

      Livingston High School, NJ: a very cliqueish school. Chris Christie, Jason Alexander (not that he is known as mean but there is a certain type) graduated from there also. If she is still * very high school * it is probably due to that school and its environment.

      She is pretty quick and clever doing interviews tho. Who knows what is true in this story?

    • Wren says:

      I don’t really think she did much bad mouthing. I was expecting much worse going in, and her comments were rather bland and vague. She didn’t say much we didn’t already know, or at least suspect, and she’s very careful to say positive things too.

      Of course Chelsea is super high-school and is probably exhausting to be around because you never know how she’s going to treat you on any given day. I too never like to say bad things about former employers, but it sounds like she was simply answering questions honestly. It was probably a lot worse than she’s saying.

  2. L says:

    Handler sounds like a destructive narcissist. Draws you in. Everything’s great. And then for no apparent reason, it all goes in the opposite direction. I had a boss like this once. I can say with confidence, it was the worst ‘relationship’ I’ve ever been in. It was very hurtful and scary.

    • Krista says:

      Agreed. 100% sounds like she’s got a diagnosable personality disorder. And I’m sorry you had to be put through that. Hopefully that’s not your boss anymore.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      Due to circumstances I won’t bore you with, my husband and I have a relationship with a couple like this. We have to have them in our lives, and we care about them, but they are great friends with people for awhile, then they ALWAYS find some reason to get mad at them and drop them. It’s like they feed on it. They have gotten mad at us twice for ridiculous reasons, but we just ignore it and I guess they know they are stuck with us, so they eventually come around. But it’s so predictable to watch, and if they had any power over us, like your boss did you, it would indeed be scary.

    • Wren says:

      I think we’ve all known people like that, but ugh it would be terrifying to have one as a boss. My aunt (by marriage) is sort of like that but nobody tolerates her BS in our family so she tones it down. Like GNAT said, I would be scared to have one for a boss.

    • Emily C. says:

      My father had someone like that as a boss for a couple years, and he’s still shaken by it to this day. There should be support groups for people who go through that.

  3. Colette says:

    I believe Heather,Chelsea just didn’t dump Heather.She got rid of most people from her old show.So it’s not about Heather betraying her.

  4. Cecada says:

    I think her ‘friendship’ with Aniston brings out the very worst in Handler. She’s so thirsty, and that brush with A-List makes her lose her mind; it’s so validating. The way Handler went off against Jolie so publicly, so ferociously, so obviously in service to the friendship with Aniston… Combined with this article, Handler sounds a little unhinged.

  5. Rainbow says:

    How Handler is a good person according to Heather if she treats people like crap?

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      That’s one reason I’m side eying her story. I do think Chelsea is mean, but Heather is very vague and inconsistent with her remarks.

      • Rainbow says:

        Agree GoodNames. I am not a fan of Handler but i am side eying this woman too. This was a passive agressive thing to say.
        Maybe she is doing it for publicity, judging by the way she is posing in the last picture she seems to like the attention.

      • FLORC says:

        Well, she does create trust funds for herr employees children that hold still if employment is terminated. I do not like the women, but she does some nice things.

  6. meg says:

    this heather woman is working with chelsea on this-chelsea’s netflix documentary premieres saturday and she chooses this week to discuss criticism of handler like this which gossips love? it’s to promote her documentary. this is like when madonna’s brother released a book and badmouthed her saying they were estranged to explain why he was writing a tell all and so the book would sell he criticized her face lift, etc. then once the book came out and sold, they were seen together. it’s all to trick us into buying a book/tuning in to a show, etc.

  7. Neelyo says:

    there are certain people in show business who just can’t seem to hide the anger and bitterness no matter how successful they are. Chelsea Handler is definitely one of them.

    • Wentworth Miller says:

      Exactly! And there’s nothing funny about her. I don’t know how she ended up with a TV show. Yesterday, someone said that whenever another comedian on her show got a big laugh from the crowd, that chelsea would then start speaking loudly over the applause because she has to be the center of attention.
      Why have comedians on your show if you don’t want anyone getting laughs, because she sure as hell wasn’t getting any.

  8. antigone says:

    Although I am not a Chelsea Handler fan and find her really abrasive, I question Heather McDonald. I don’t doubt that Chelsea is very difficult to work with but I read Heather’s book and she name drops Chelsea and other celebrities throughout and seems enamored with fame-I wouldn’t be shocked if Chelsea’s statement that she sold tabloid stories was true. Also, Heather contradicts herself-she talks about how she lived in “100% fear” but also states also that she enjoyed her time there and was happy. I would not be happy if I were living in “100% fear.” I also feel like in general it’s unprofessional to bash former employers in a public forum unless they did something criminal or you were sexually harassed. It’s one thing to talk about it with friends and family but to talk about it in the media is not smart professionally.

  9. Talie says:

    I just think Chelsea likes being rich and doing rich people things, but she doesn’t seem to be terribly ambitious anymore. That was the vibe on Howard.

    Heather is a bestie of Kris Jenner, so she has learned well how to get attention for herself.

  10. Lou says:

    ‘but no one really cares anymore.’

    I think that’s wishful thinking on your part, Kaiser…

    Isn’t that how a boss works? If something effs up you are freaking out on the inside in case your boss finds out or they call you out for it? I’m sure Chelsea could be tough but all of those people with shows of their own are under huge pressure and are not sunshine and roses all the time. It sounds to me that she thought she was Chelsea’s friend rather than her employee and feels snubbed that Chelsea moved on.

    She says that Chelsea is a good person and that she liked working there so what’s the problem here? And yeah, if she was selling Chelsea out then WHY would she be in her inner circle?

    • Kitten says:

      Agreed. Not a fan of Chelsea (someone said the other say that she’s “too much”) but your assessment seems the most objective/reasonable.

  11. Lou says:

    and even in this photo here it shows Chelsea at Heather’s book launch ….. that’s a supportive and nice boss, right?

  12. Nev says:

    Go on Chelsea!!!! Love her.

  13. Dani says:

    I used to watch Handler obsessively (sorry, I can’t help it) and Heather always rubbed me the wrong way. She’s a social ladder climber, and she’s not as innocent as she tries to come off. Chelsea may not be nice, but Heather isn’t a saint. Also, if you’re going to gossip about the person who made your career, she’s either a shitty person or not. There’s no such thing as a good person who treats people like shit.

    • lucy2 says:

      I liked the show in the beginning for the panel of comedians she had on. Chelsea was always the worst of them, and Heather was second worst, but some of the others were very funny. I grew tired of it after a season or so though.

      • EscapedConvent says:

        That was my experience with her show, too. At first I thought the other people on the round table were funny. Then I thought it was tiresome after a while. And Handler seemed to get nastier. So I stopped.

      • Grant says:

        I don’t know. There were moments when Chelsea made me guffaw. And the time that Heather was impersonating Marlee Matlin on the L Word? It was hilarious.

  14. stinky says:

    Heather(who??) has authored a memoir …
    Why in the hell am I (or anyone) supposed to care?

  15. FLORC says:

    Reading this I understand an old boss of mine was Handler.
    Energy and good vibes! Makes you feel included with a place of equal importance in the team/business. But god help you if something goes wrong. All that positive flow you’re riding high on is immediately pulled out and the room goes dark and scary. I appreciate my old boss, but while there I had a type of fear when she came around.
    True Narcissist.

  16. EscapedConvent says:

    I can’t figure out why Netflix would have anything to do with her. She’s awful. But they must think people will watch her.

    • lucy2 says:

      I can’t figure it out either, their content is usually very good quality with talented people. Then again, they also thought that Adam Sandler movie was a good idea.

  17. Mary says:

    I want that purple dress. That is all.

  18. JenniferJustice says:

    Handler strikes me as the insecure plain girl in highschool that automatically hated anybody prettier or who got more attention – she’s a foot stomper – “What about me?!” The only time women like her are friends with someone prettier or “better” than them in some way, is if they’re getting somethiing out of it. Handler got press and acceptance by being friends with Jennifer Aniston and Aniston assured herself would not be fodder for any of Handler’s antics as well as had a crass voice against Jolie which allowed the public to hear spewing about Jolie while preserving Aniston’s “sweetheart” persona. They were in it together. They use eachother. Handler was never funny. She is just another shock jockey. Vulgarity and controversy for the sake of shock and attention. That is all. Go away Handler.

    *Give Chuy his own show!

  19. kri says:

    I live in 100% fear thinking Chelsea might be back someday.

  20. mialouise says:

    Newsflash: a woman is moody or mean! Grown men never get this crap. From the headline I expected that Chandler was prone to violent outbursts. No, it’s “you think she’s your friend, then she’s not!” Why are women infantilized in the media like this?

    • EscapedConvent says:

      Have you seen her show? She doesn’t have violent outbursts, that I’ve seen. She’s just as mean as a snake, and I say that with an apology to snakes. Criticism of her isn’t because she’s a woman. It’s because she’s hateful. I would say the same thing about Don Rickles.

  21. Natalia says:

    Her show made me very uncomfortable. Chelsea Handler is a bitch. That is all.

    • stinky says:

      I know. if that wannabe was doing the writing – Its fair to say that theyre both witches, not just Chelsea.

  22. Amelie says:

    I have a friend like this, constantly making and dropping friends at the drop of a hat. Unlike Chelsea, she is not mean or vicious but she is overly sensitive and has a childlike mentality. It’s like she never matured emotionally past the age of 12. She is also bipolar (officially diagnosed) and goes through manic phases. She is exhausting to be around because you never know which version you’ll get. She has gotten mad at me for stupid things. I’ve gotten used to ignoring her drama.

  23. Debutante says:

    I heard chelsea on howard stern yesterday. She very simply said that after she found out that heather was selling stories to the tabloids, she could not trust her anymore.
    I totally agree with chelsea handler.
    She also stated to howard that heather was upset that chelsea didn’t tell her that she was leaving the E channel. She asked howard, would you tell your writers you were thinking of leaving beforehand ? He said of course not. Chelsea said, exactly ! She wasnt my partner, she was a writer on the show.
    And if she was so scared of me, why didn’tshe leave ? I’m on chelsea handlers side.

  24. Aubrey says:

    I love Mcdonald’s sense of humor on her podcasts.