Jones in 2011
Starlet Marie Jones
March 24, 1962
Badin, North Carolina, U.S.
|Other names||Star Jones Reynolds|
Al Reynolds (m. 2004–2008)
Ricardo Lugo (m. 2018)
Starlet Marie Jones (born March 24, 1962) is an American lawyer, journalist, television personality, fashion designer, author, and women's and diversity advocate. She is best known as one of the original co-hosts on the ABC morning talk show The View, on which she appeared from 1997 to 2006. She was also one of sixteen contestants of the fourth installment of The Celebrity Apprentice in 2011, coming in fifth place.
Jones graduated from Notre Dame High School in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. She earned a B.A. degree in Administration of Justice at American University, where she was initiated into the Lambda Zeta chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. Jones earned a J.D. degree from the University of Houston Law Center in 1986, and was admitted to the New York state bar in 1987.
From 1986 to 1991, Jones was a prosecutor with the Kings County District Attorney's Office in Brooklyn, New York. In 1992, she was elevated to senior assistant district attorney. She was recruited by Court TV in 1991 as a commentator for the William Kennedy Smith rape trial and spent several years as a legal correspondent for NBC's Today and NBC Nightly News. In 1994, she was given her own court show, Jones & Jury, which mimicked the arbitration-based reality format of The People's Court, though with a talk show like set as opposed to a courtroom set. Although the show was canceled after only one year, Jones became the first black person and female to serve as a television arbitrator of a courtroom series.
Jones then became chief legal analyst on Inside Edition, where she led the coverage of the O.J. Simpson murder case. She was the only reporter to interview Simpson during his civil trial, which she covered for American Journal.
In 1997, Jones joined The View as one of its original four co-hosts. Jones's nine-season tenure on The View was marked by controversy at times. Jones, who had been diagnosed as morbidly obese, began to undergo dramatic weight loss beginning in 2003. In a September 2007 essay in Glamour magazine, she revealed that she had undergone gastric bypass surgery in August 2003, resulting in a loss of 160 pounds (73 kilograms) over three years. Many criticized Jones for her initial dishonesty when she claimed she had lost weight via diet and exercise. Barbara Walters told Oprah Winfrey in May 2008 that she had kept Jones' gastric bypass surgery a secret because Jones had asked her to, and that lying on the show turned the audience off.
Additionally, when she married investment banker Al Reynolds in 2004, Jones reported her wedding plans on The View for months beforehand, including "plugs" (public mentions) for her suppliers, such as the wedding invitations, clothing, and airlines. It was later revealed that Jones had pushed product-placement in exchange for receiving those products and services for free. ABC claimed that her excessive self-promotion alienated viewers. On April 21, 2006, Jones discovered that her contract would not be renewed for the following season. Her agent called her then husband Al Reynolds and informed him as Jones was in Phoenix at the time. Reynolds flew to Phoenix & told Jones her contract would not be renewed.
ABC, Barbara Walters and Bill Geddie then told Star she could go out on "her own terms". They had collectively decided for Jones to announce her impending departure on Thursday, June 29, 2006, but Jones surprised her co-hosts by announcing it two days earlier on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 when they returned from their first commercial break that she would be leaving the show. She stated that she would remain on the show through July, and she would not return in the fall. She did not reveal during her announcement that her contract wasn't renewed. After Jones revealed her departure live on air, co-host Joy Behar jokingly said, "Who am I going to fight with now?" to which Jones replied, "I have a feeling you'll have someone else to fight with."
Despite this, Walters announced the next day that Jones would no longer appear on the show with the exception of previously recorded segments, publicly claiming feeling "betrayed" by Jones for unexpectedly making the announcement two days ahead of schedule. In an interview with People, Jones claimed the decision to leave was not hers and that in April, producers told her that her contract would not be renewed. Walters later stated that ABC executives had decided not to renew Jones' contract due to diminished approval for Jones through their market research.
Jones's contract was due to expire July 13, but after the programme finished on June 27, ABC had discovered Star had released an article with People magazine about her contract not being renewed, and that the decision to leave was not her own, saying, "What you don't know is that my contract was not renewed for the 10th season... I feel like I was fired." The next day, Barbara Walters gave a statement to the audience at the start of the programme revealing that she had been "blindsided," and that Star would no longer appear on "The View". When the series went into summer reruns, only programs in which she had been absent from the panel were rebroadcast. Jones was removed from the opening credits, leaving only Walters, Joy Behar, and Elisabeth Hasselbeck.
Shortly after her dismissal, Jones appeared on Larry King Live to respond to questions about why ABC had refused to renew her contract. Regarding her wedding controversy, Jones insisted that every mention of her wedding had been specifically approved and negotiated by the network, and not in violation of any policy. She also denied that she had caused a ratings drop, and claimed that the ratings during the 2004-05 season were the highest The View had had in the nine years she was a co-host.
Jones' departure caused a rift between her and Walters that lasted nearly six years. In May 2008, in response to allegations in Barbara Walters's autobiography, Audition, Jones told US Magazine: "It is a sad day when an icon like Barbara Walters, in the sunset of her life, is reduced to publicly branding herself as an adulterer, humiliating an innocent family with accounts of her illicit affair and speaking negatively against me all for the sake of selling a book. It speaks to her true character." Walters did not respond.
On February 22, 2012, Jones returned to The View as a guest, and has made subsequent guest appearances since then.
On March 7, 2007, Jones announced that she would return to her original network, Court TV—now rebranded truTV—as its new executive editor of daytime programming, and that she would host an eponymous live weekday talk show based on the law and pop culture. Star Jones premiered on August 20, 2007, as a guest-driven live broadcast (with taped segments) covering recent stories from the worlds of pop culture, entertainment, crime, and justice.
Just six months later, her show was canceled, and it was announced that Jones was leaving truTV due to "changes in their programming selection." The final episode of Star Jones aired on February 1, 2008. Jones received the balance on her $24 million, three-year contract, and the network stated that Jones was eliminated from the channel's lineup because it deemed Jones "too serious" for its tabloid-focused coverage. However, according to The Washington Post, "[Jones's] show averaged 186,000 viewers and, by its final telecast, was down in the neighborhood of 85,000." In January 2011, the talk show was featured among "10 Notable Talk Show Failures" by CNBC.com.
Jones has hosted or guest-hosted numerous cable programs, including the HGTV program House Hunters in New York City (which "scored the largest household ratings in the cable channel's history"), the Michael Eric Dyson radio show, Larry King Live (where she interviewed Beyoncé Knowles while King was on vacation), and The Bad Girls Club Season 2 reunion on the Oxygen Network.
In addition, she has made acting appearances on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (where she played a former incarnation of herself—a Brooklyn prosecutor named Star Jones—in the eighth-season finale), and as a judge in Drop Dead Diva in August 2012.
On July 17, 2009, Jones appeared on a celebrity version of Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?, during which she won $25,000 to benefit The East Harlem School at Exodus House, a New York City middle school for underserved populations.
Jones was also a contestant on the fourth season of The Celebrity Apprentice. She placed fifth on the show, eliminated after her brand messaging efforts in a TV commercial for OnStar were not well received by the OnStar executives.
Jones is the author of You Have to Stand for Something, or You'll Fall for Anything, a collection of autobiographical essays published in 1998. Her second book, Shine: A Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Journey to Finding Love (2006), detailed changes she made to reshape her life, including her marriage and dramatic weight loss. She released a third book in March 2011, Satan's Sisters, a roman à clef about a fictional television talk show featuring five women of clashing temperaments. A scripted television series based on Satan's Sisters, titled Daytime Divas, aired for one season on VH1 from June 5 to July 31, 2017. Jones served as an executive producer on the series, and guest-starred as herself in the July 24, 2017, episode.
National Association of Professional Women
Jones is the President of the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW). She created the organization's philanthropic endeavor, NAPW Foundation, to benefit the American Heart Association, of which Jones is also a National Volunteer; the Breast Cancer Research Foundation; Dress For Success and Girls, Inc. Jones also conducts regular visits to NAPW Local Chapters and hosts the organization’s annual National Networking Conference.
Professional Diversity Network
Jones is also the president of Professional Diversity Network (NASDAQ: IPDN). She is also a member of its board of directors, becoming the youngest of a small circle of African-American women in the US leading a public company.
Jones married investment banker Al Reynolds on November 13, 2004. Reynolds proposed to Jones during the 2004 NBA All-Star Game. Amid much publicity, the wedding was held at Saint Bartholomew's Church in New York City in front of five hundred guests and featured three matrons of honor, twelve bridesmaids, two junior bridesmaids, three best men, twelve groomsmen, three junior groomsmen, six footmen, four ring bearers, and four flower girls. More than thirty corporate "sponsors" donated wedding attire and merchandise for the event in exchange for mentions in the media and on Jones's website. After the wedding, Jones began using the name "Star Jones Reynolds" professionally, but reverted to "Star Jones" in 2007, telling Entertainment Weekly that she wanted to keep her public persona separate from her private self. On March 9, 2008, Jones and Reynolds announced they were divorcing.
On March 17, 2010, Jones underwent cardiac surgery related to a surgery she had three decades earlier for a thoracic tumor.
On October 24, 2017, Jones went public with her engagement to Ricardo Lugo, who recently worked in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. Lugo was employed as an assistant state's attorney from April to August, according to a State’s Attorney’s Office spokesperson. He was one of 17 prosecutors laid off because of county budget issues.
Star Jones married Ricardo Lugo on a cruise ship in the Bahamas on Sunday, March 25, 2018.
By 2003, Star had reached 307 pounds and was diagnosed as morbidly obese.
That same year, Star decided to undergo gastric bypass surgery. Yet, as her weight melted off in front of the national TV audience, she never addressed her changing body with her fans. In the three years that followed, Star lost 160 pounds.
When asked if she had undergone the surgery during a 2006 radio interview, Star denied it. The lawyer turned TV personality admitted the following year to having had a gastric band fitted, in a Glamour magazine essay. In May 2008, two years after Star had left The View, Barbara Walters revealed that the show panelists had been made to lie about the surgery. ‘We had to lie on the set every day because she said it was portion control and Pilates,’ the broadcast journalist told Oprah Winfrey. ‘Well, we knew it wasn't portion control and Pilates. And the whole point of the program is honesty.’
Controversies and legal troubles
In June 2003, Jones was sued by a landscaping company that alleged she had agreed to give it credit for its work on a rooftop garden for her Upper East Side penthouse duplex in a quid pro quo exchange. The work was done in advance of an article in the October 2003 issue of Architectural Digest. The Smoking Gun website published a copy of a letter she signed which agreed to the deal, but the lawsuit was dismissed in Jones' favor.
A nonprofit Detroit women's group, Full and Fabulous, accused Jones of theft after they invited her to speak at its "Health, Beauty and Self-Esteem" conference during the 2006 Super Bowl. Full and Fabulous alleged that Jones made changes to her flight itinerary that doubled the travel expenses the group was paying for, and that she spent the bulk of her time attending Super Bowl parties to promote her book rather than the conference. Jones insisted that she honored all contractual terms of the deal and that the organization fabricated the allegations for the sake of publicity.
Jones was named to PETA's "worst dressed" list four years in a row. An anti-fur ad from PETA featured drag queen Flotilla DeBarge dressed as Jones in a spoof. Jones threatened to sue PETA and DeBarge as a result of the ad.
While appearing on "The Professionals" segment of the Today show in July 2012, Jones wondered aloud whether Anderson Cooper opened up about being gay "for ratings." And the famously private Anderson Live host was not happy with Jones. "Star Jones of all people," he said. "I haven't thought about Star Jones in I don't know how long. I was unaware she was even on TV still, but she apparently shows up on a morning show…Anyway, out of the blue Star Jones said after I sent this email, Star Jones said this was a ratings ploy by me to boost ratings."
- Star Jones : Celebrity Apprentice 2011 Contestant
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- Finn, Robin (April 17, 2011). "Busy, Busy, Busy (Toting Pinky)". The New York Times. Retrieved July 19, 2017.
- Bellino, Damian (May 29, 2017). "Watch the First 8 Minutes of VH1's New Scripted Series Daytime Divas". VH1. Retrieved July 19, 2017.
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- Grant, Jasmine (July 25, 2017). "The "Real" Star Jones Gets Revenge On Nina During Mo's Red Carpet Interviews". VH1. Retrieved July 26, 2017.
- Tidbits: Star Jones tells Al Reynolds it's over
- Caplan, David (2010-03-17). "Star Jones recovering from cardiac surgery". People.com. Retrieved 2010-03-20.
- Star Jones In Roof Garden Flap – December 14, 2004
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- Fur Is Dead > Features > Star Jones Named Biggest Fur Offender
- "Fur Is a Drag," Says Star Jones in PETA's New Parody Ad
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Star Jones.|
- Star Jones: Love & Sex Coach at AOL Coaches
- Star Jones on IMDb
- Landscaper sues "The View" star, a December 2004 article from The Smoking Gun
- collection of excerpts from Jones' second book
- Star Jones featured on the FOX series Family Guy
| The View co-host (Seat #2)