Elisabeth Filarski – the elder child of Ken, an architect, and Elizabeth (with a "z"), a lawyer – enjoys an athletic childhood in Cranston, R.I. She attends St. Mary's Academy Bay-View, where she's a member of a state-champion softball team. "The years growing up were so important to me," she tells the Providence Journal in 2004. "The support I've always had from my parents is amazing. They've always let me go beyond the norm."
Filarski studies art at Boston College, where she captains the Division-1 softball team to two Big East championships and meets the college's charismatic quarterback, Tim Hasselbeck (left). In the summer of 1997, Hasselbeck asks Filarski out for the first time. Of their romance, Filarksi tells the Boston Globe in 2004, "I always thought it was fate." In 1999, she earns a Masters of Fine Arts with a focus on large-scale paintings and industrial design.
Filarski – now working as a shoe designer for Puma – attempts to outwit, outplay and outlast 15 other contestants in Survivor: The Australian Outback (the second season of the wildly successful reality show). She auditions as "a whimisical thing," her younger brother Ken tells PEOPLE in 2001. "She told people she was doing it as a joke." But the fierce – if perky – competitor makes it all the way to the final four. But when she returns to civilization, she's diagnosed with celiac disease, a serious immune-system reaction to gluten.
Filarski begins hosting Style Network's fashion-on-a-budget makeover show, The Look for Less. The former Survivor sweetheart describes the show as "taking high fashion and bringing it to someone who has a budget."
College sweeties, Filarski and Hasselbeck, tie the knot in Filarski's hometown of Cranston, R.I., as 200 guests – including Survivor champ Tina Wesson – look on. Afterward, the blushing bride changes her last name to Hasselbeck.
Hasselbeck beats out Carnie Wilson and former MTV Real World star Rachel Campos to replace Lisa Ling on The View. "She's 26 and isn't afraid of giving her point of view," Barbara Walters tells the New York Post. "We're looking for someone to give us that new charge." The politically conservative Hasselbeck joins co-hosts Joy Behar, Star Jones and Meredith Vieira.
The entire View crew comes onstage sporting fake baby bumps (right), as Barbara Walters asks the audience to guess which cohost is pregnant. As the crowd goes wild, Hasselbeck confirms that she is 13 weeks along with her first child. On April 6, 2005, she welcomes daughter, Grace. "Grace is amazing," the new mom says when she returns to the show. "She likes to eat a lot and sleep a lot – just like her father."
The gloves are off! Hasselbeck spars with Rosie O'Donnell (right), who joined the show as moderator in September, replacing Meredith Vieira. When Hasselbeck says the government should be allowed to monitor citizens' private telephone conversations, O'Donnell snaps back, "Elisabeth, you are very young, and you are very wrong." Two days later, the famously liberal comedienne apologizes on her haiku-style blog: "i said some of elisabeths comments were ignorant / which was ignorant itself."
Hasselbeck is three-months pregnant with her second child, and jokes that since O'Donnell is slated to depart at the end of the season, "Tim and I thought we should get busy and maybe make a little co-host." But on May 23, the long-simmering political tensions suddenly boil over. O'Donnell – who had come under fire for comments about Iraq – calls Hasselbeck "cowardly" for not defending her. Hassebeck fires back, "You are an adult...Defend your own insinuations." The intense argument is shot in split-screen, and days later, ABC announces that O'Donnell will not be returning to the show.
The Hasselbecks welcome their second child, a son, Taylor Thomas (right). Two months after giving birth, Hasselbeck returns to work – with baby Taylor in her arms. And the newborn certainly has a healthy appetite, Hasselbeck says, adding "I call myself the Dairy Queen." More than seven months after her televised shouting match with Hasselbeck, O'Donnell tells PEOPLE that they have finally buried the hatchet. Calling Taylor "very, very cute," the comedienne says she "sent him a lovely gift."
BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): WENN; Paul Andrew Hawthorne/WireImage; CBS/Landov; Everett Collection; Sara Jaye/Abaca; Yolanda Perez/ABC; ABC; Amy Sussman/Getty