Julie Chen has officially announced that she is leaving The Talk on CBS. She revealed the news to viewers in a videotaped message that aired Tuesday, September 18. She made the announcement from the set of Big Brother and appeared to fight back tears at one point.
Chen stated that she needs “to spend more time at home with my husband and young son… I will always cherish the memories we shared.”
She shared personalized messages for each of her co-hosts, and addressed the behind-the-scenes crew as well. Chen ended her message by wishing them luck and sharing her love for everyone who works there.
Chen’s announcement comes on the heels of her husband’s exit as chairman and CEO of CBS. Les Moonves was under pressure to step down amid sexual misconduct allegations.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Julie Chen Has Supported Her Husband Since Allegations of Misconduct Were Published in the ‘New Yorker’ in Late July
The controversy surrounding Leslie Moonves erupted in late July. The New Yorker published detailed accounts from six women who accused the CEO of sexual harassment. Two of the woman claimed that Moonves threatened their careers. Thirty former and current CBS employees also told the publication that Moonves tolerated a “boy’s club” culture and oversaw an organization that protected and promoted men accused of sexual misconduct.
Julie Chen issued a statement on July 27 on Twitter supporting her husband.
“I have known my husband, Leslie Moonves, since the late ’90s, and I have been married to him for almost 14 years. Leslie is a good man and a loving father, devoted husband and inspiring corporate leader. He has always been a kind, decent and moral human being. I fully support my husband and stand behind him and his statement.”
2. Chen Took Time Away From ‘The Talk’ After Moonves Resigned as CEO of CBS
In September 9, Moonves resigned from CBS. He has denied the harassment allegations. But he did agree to donate $20 million from any severance benefits to the #MeToo movement. That donation will not happen immediately, however. Moonves will not receive severance until an independent investigation is completed.
Moonves released the following statement announcing his departure:
“For the past 24 years it has been an incredible privilege to lead CBS’s renaissance and transformation into a leading global media company. The best part of this journey has been working alongside the dedicated and talented people in this company. Together, we built CBS into a destination where the best in the business come to work and succeed.
Untrue allegations from decades ago are now being made against me that are not consistent with who I am. Effective immediately I will no longer be Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of CBS.
I am deeply saddened to be leaving the company. I wish nothing but the best for the organization, the newly comprised board of directors and all of its employees.”
Julie Chen took time away from The Talk in the days that followed. She also released a brief statement, explaining that she was spending time with her family.
3. Five Days After Moonves Stepped Down, She Signed Off ‘Big Brother’ as Julie Chen Moonves
Julie Chen has been the host of Big Brother on CBS since its debut in 2000. Even after marrying Moonves in 2004, she continued to use her maiden name on television.
But on September 13, she did something she has never done before: she signed off by using her husband’s name, identifying herself as Julie Chen Moonves. You can watch that moment in the video above.
The moment caused a major stir on social media. Many fans expressed disappointment and anger, such as actor Judd Apatow. He tweeted, “Her husband threatened people and ruined careers. He sexually assaulted and harassed people. To stand by him at this moment is cruel to the many victims. Maybe the shock and fear of her husband has damaged her and she isn’t seeing clearly— yet.”
Fan Alex wrote, “That was so messy and insulting to his victims, go and stay gone Julie. #bb20”
Justin Hinton captured the surprise that many fans expressed initially. “Now THAT was a statement… “From outside the Big Brother House, I’m Julie Chen Moonves.” I’ve NEVER heard her say “Moonves” for anything. Did anyone else catch that?”
4. Sharon Osbourne: Les Moonves Obviously Has a Problem
Julie Chen’s announcement that she was leaving The Talk was prerecorded, so she did not have to handle any awkward moments with her co-stars. And it most likely would have been tense. Co-hosts Sharon Osbourne, Sara Gilbert, Sheryl Underwood and Eve talked about Les Moonves following his departure during the season premiere on September 10.
Sharon Osbourne stated, “As you all know, Julie’s husband is in the news, and she’s taking off time to be with her family. It’s very embarrassing and upsetting to have to talk about her husband, but we do, we feel it’s right. He has not been convicted of any crime but obviously the man has a problem.”
Sara Gilbert said during the episode, “This is an important time in our culture. And just because this hits close to home, it doesn’t change this story. All women’s stories matter, and these women’s stories matter. This is very serious, and the appropriate actions need to take place.”
The following day, the hosts discussed the ongoing independent investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by Moonves. They all agreed that the results should be shared publicly by CBS.
5. Julie Chen is Leaving ‘The Talk’ But Will Continue to Host ‘Big Brother’
Julie Chen has been the moderator of The Talk since 2010. It was not immediately clear whether she would return for any final episodes before leaving the popular daytime show. Her message to viewers announcing her departure was prerecorded.
But Chen will reportedly stay on as the host of reality show Big Brother. The show actually saw higher ratings than usual following her “I’m Julie Chen Moonves” moment on September 13. The episode on Sunday, September 16 reportedly attracted 6.5 million viewers. The demo rating was up 18 percent from the previous week.
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