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Very Real

John Goodman Defends Roseanne Barr After Tweet Scandal, Says She's Not Racist

“I’ll put it this way, I was surprised at the response. And that’s probably all I should say about it,” actor says about ABC's initial decision to cancel "Roseanne." 

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt

Roseanne Barr seems to still have a friend in her former on-screen husband, John Goodman.

Barr stirred up controversy in May by comparing former White House aide Valerie Jarrett, a black woman, to “Planet of the Apes,” prompting ABC to cancel the “Roseanne” reboot and then later revive it without her. Goodman, 66, who portrayed Barr’s husband on “Roseanne” for years, stood behind his former co-star during a recent interview with UK-based publication The Sunday Times.

“I know, I know, for a fact that she’s not a racist,” Goodman said.

ABC’s decision to cancel the “Roseanne” reboot following Barr’s explosive tweets took him by surprise, Goodman revealed earlier in the interview, explaining, “I’ll put it this way, I was surprised at the response. And that’s probably all I should say about it.”

Though ABC later decided to bring back “Roseanne” without its titular lead, the show’s initial cancellation triggered a depressive episode for Goodman, who described himself as being “brokenhearted” by the news.

“But I thought, ‘OK, it’s just show business, I’m going to let it go,’” he continued. “But I went through a period, about a month, where I was very depressed. I’m a depressive anyway, so any excuse that I can get to lower myself, I will. But that had a great deal to do with it, more than I wanted to admit.”

The new “Roseanne” spinoff will be called “The Connors,” and will focus on Barr’s on-screen family (Barr’s character, meanwhile, will be getting killed off, Goodman hinted to The Sunday Times). In order for that to happen, however, Barr had to give up all her rights to the show, Goodman explained, and it’s a move that he’s clearly grateful for.

“I sent her an email and thanked her for that. I did not hear anything back, but she was going through hell at the time. And she’s still going through hell,” Goodman said.

Barr publicly thanked her former co-star for his support in a tweet on Tuesday, writing, “I thank John Goodman for speaking truth about me, despite facing certain peril from producers and network.”

Following the online firestorm her original tweets caused, Barr cycled through a variety of public reactions that included a bizarre YouTube video during which she yelled “I thought the b-tch was white,” and, at another point, apologizing directly to Jarrett during an interview with Sean Hannity.

Goodman isn’t the only celeb to defend Barr amid controversy. Fellow comedian/actress Mo’Nique spoke out in support of Barr last month, calling Barr her “sister in comedy” and requesting that “we don’t throw her away.”

[Photo: Roseanne Barr and John Goodman attend a “Roseanne” premiere event with KABC contest winners. By Matt Petit/ABC via Getty Images]