John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf and Sara Gilbert are recalling the shocking day their former co-star, Roseanne Barr, shared a racist tweet, leading to the cancellation of the highly rated Roseanne.
Goodman — who plays Barr’s husband, Dan, in the show — says he was in his “kitchen and maybe my daughter or my wife told me” about Barr’s now infamous tweet about Barack Obama’s former White House adviser, Valerie Jarrett. Barr wrote, “Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj,” referring to Jarrett, who is black and was born in Iran.
“It just didn’t seem true,” Goodman says. “Then it got true. I was consciously trying to accept it.”
As for Metcalf — who plays Barr’s sister, Jackie, on the show — she says she was actually in New York performing on Broadway at the time, and found out about the tweet on the news just like the show’s fans. She says she immediately wondered about the fate of Roseanne.
“And I [first] thought, ‘Oh, I wonder if we still have a show,'” she recalls. “Because of how heavy everything became.”
“[I was trying] to reconcile myself to the show being gone,” she later adds. “And you know, coming off such a high, it was hard to wrap our heads around.”
Meanwhile, Gilbert — who plays Barr’s daughter, Darlene — says she doesn’t remember how she initially found out about the news, but tried to take a more calm approach.
“It was more just, ‘OK, what are we dealing with today?’’ she remembers thinking. “I was just kind of taking things one step at a time as they came.”
Of course, the cast was eventually able to continue the story of Roseanne — sans the main character — with a spinoff. Goodman, who says he always had hope of resurrecting the show, explains why the cast is now excited for The Conners.
“There was the feeling of not wanting it to go away until we were ready,” Goodman shares. “There was a debt owed to this fictional family. We want to finish telling this story.”
“There was a lot of risk involved,” Metcalf adds. “But we all decided as a group to take the risk, knowing that we could be judged by deciding to come back.”
Last month, Barr revealed how her character would be killed off in the spinoff when she appeared on Brandon Straka’s YouTube show, Walk Away. The controversial comedian said her character will die from an opiod overdose.
“Any sadness that we feel over what we’ve lost we’re hopefully channeling in an honest way into the show,” Gilbert notes in the new interview. “And our show has always been able to deal with heavy topics, particularly for a sitcom. It’s been kind of built into the mix.”
But through it all, the close-knit cast remains a family.
“We’re leaning on each other when we do this show,” Goodman shares. “And supporting each other — that’s a very strong feeling among us. It’s different, but we can create something new from it. Let us finish the story on our own terms. Come along with us and see how we do.”
The Conners‘ first promo was released on Tuesday, and didn’t address Barr’s absence. Instead, the family seems back to their old ways and keeping up with family traditions.
The Conners premieres Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
ET spoke with Barr last month, when she teared up over Goodman’s public support of her. The actor has thanked Barr for signing off her rights so the spinoff could continue, and recently told the Sunday Times that he knows “for a fact that she’s not a racist.”
“I love him,” Barr told ET of her former on-screen husband, getting choked up. “So sweet of him to do that, so nice, cause he does know me.”
Watch the emotional moment below: