For over a decade, Julie Chen has been one half of an entertainment powerhouse couple. The wife of recently ousted CBS CEO Les Moonves, Chen, 48, rose to prominence as host on the reality hit Big Brother and the talkshow The Talk.
But that has all changed. In a taped video that aired on The Talk this afternoon, Chen officially left her role as one of the show's co-hosts following Moonves's exit from CBS. Rather than sitting in for a live taping with her former co-hosts Sara Gilbert, Sharon Osbourne, Sheryl Underwood, and Eve, Chen bid them each an emotional farewell, saying, "I have been at The Talk since the day it started nine years ago, and the cast, crew and staff have become family to me over the years. But right now, I need to spend more time at home with my husband and our young son."
See the full video here:
Sources told CNN that she will be staying on as the host of Big Brother.
Chen's decision is reportedly related to her efforts to support her husband. "She has decided that her main focus needs to be clearing her husband's name from accusations made 25-30 years ago and tending to her son," one of the sources told CNN.
Earlier in September, Chen stood by Moonves, signing off at the end of an episode of Big Brother, saying “From outside the Big Brother house, I'm Julie Chen Moonves. Good night." It was the first time that the star had ever used her married name on air.
Following the announcement of her departure, CBS released the following statement:
“For eight seasons, Julie Chen has co-hosted The Talk with incredible energy, grace and professionalism. Her talents played a big role in our successful launch of CBS’ first network daytime talk show, and in the series growth into an Emmy Award-winning broadcast. All of us here have tremendous appreciation for the dedication and passion she brought to the show every day and for her generous role as an ambassador for CBS Daytime. We are grateful for her many other contributions, respect her decision and wish Julie all the best in everything she does.”
Chen has been vocally supportive of her husband since allegations of sexual misconduct first surfaced in a report by Ronan Farrow this summer in the The New Yorker. The allegations came from multiple women and ranged from the 1980s to the early 2000s. Moonves has vehemently denied the allegations and has said that the claims are being used as a way to remove him from his position. He resigned from his position as chariman and CEO of CBS on September 9, shortly after a second story was published by Farrow in The New Yorker.
Chen's Response to the Allegations Against Moonves
Chen's public support of her husband was immediate last summer. At the time she posted a statement to Twitter, writing that Moonves is a,"good man and loving father, devoted husband, and inspiring corporate leader." She added, "I fully support my husband and stand behind him and his statement."
In a statement to The New Yorker at the time, Moonves said, “Throughout my time at CBS, we have promoted a culture of respect and opportunity for all employees, and have consistently found success elevating women to top executive positions across our company. I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances. Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely."
Chen and Les Moonves
Chen's relationship with Moonves has been tabloid fodder since early in their romance. She had worked for CBS since 1999 on morning shows including The CBS Morning News and This Morning; positions that garnered enough attention that the network ultimately offered her the hosting gig on Big Brother.
Though it seems that the duo had never met before Chen's star-making turn on the reality show, once they became involved, they committed quickly. The couple married in 2004, just two weeks after Moonves's divorce from his estranged wife, Nancy Wieselfeld, was finalized.
And though it might seem that marrying the CEO of CBS would be a boon for a broadcaster, both Chen and Moonves have stated in the past that it was much the opposite for her. "It probably hasn't helped her to be married to me in terms of that," he told Buzzfeed News. Chen agreed, adding, “I had already spent a good chunk of time working with my co-workers and then the day we got married, I saw certain people treat me differently.”
In 2009, the couple welcomed their son, Charlie.
Representatives Julie Chen have not yet responded to Town & Country's request for comment.
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