Now it's starting to make sense. If you detected a little tension between emcee Rosie O'Donnell and Survivor: Marquesas winner Vecepia "Vee" Towery on Sunday night's post-finale reunion show, there may be good reason. While Towery — a fundamentalist Christian — may think God is great, it seems she has a different opinion when it comes to gays.
As the 36-year-old office manager explains to TV Guide Online, she and openly gay contestant John Carroll had a sexual orientation showdown of sorts while playing Survivor. "John told me, 'You realize that I'm openly gay.' And I said, 'Yeah, I kind of figured that. But I have to be honest, based on my spiritual beliefs, I don't agree with the lifestyle. But you, as a person, I have nothing against.'"
Towery — who confesses to having a stepsister who is an out-and-proud lesbian — says Carroll was "initially hurt" by her comments, but adds that "he eventually came around because he proclaims to be a Christian also. He believes that God loves everybody, no matter who you are, and [he's] absolutely right. But then also, the scripture says this, this, this and this. So we hashed it out, and once he saw my position and realized, 'God, Vee, you really do love me and it's really not an issue with you,' he was able to get past it."
We think we know the answer to this next question, but we'll ask it anyway: Does Towery privately hope that Carroll will, um, "get past" his sexual identity? "My hope is that he remains happy, just like my sister," she says. "And if that meant that one day [they] decided to go straight, then I'd be even more happier. But it's not something I'm praying for."
And as far as a possible rift between Towery and a certain openly-sapphic entertainer, it may be much ado about nothing. "Rosie accepts everyone for what they are and I guess would like to have the same in return," says O'Donnell's spokeswoman, Lois Smith. "But she thinks everyone's entitled to their beliefs, so I can't imagine [she would have a problem with Towery]. She certainly has never mentioned it."