‘The Talk:’ Julie Chen Moonves Speaks Out About Exit from Show, Says She Was ‘Stabbed in Back’

Big Brother Host - Julie Chen Moonves

Julie Chen Moonves has opened up for the first time about her sudden departure from The Talk in 2019, citing that CBS decided for her. She spoke with Good Morning America about her new audio memoir, But First, God, when the daytime talk show came up. “That was a hard time,” Chen Moonves told GMA. “I felt stabbed in the back. I was, you know.”

After 8 years of moderating the daytime panel, Chen Moonves left the show days when her TV exec husband Les was accused of sexual misconduct by at least 12 women. Although she never mentioned the scandal directly at the time, she said she needed “to “spend more time at home with my husband and our young son.”

Following this, Chen Moonves took full support of her husband on social media, noting that he is “a good man and a loving father, devoted husband, and inspiring corporate leader.” In July 2019, she tweeted, “He has always been a kind, decent, and moral human being, I fully support my husband and stand behind him and his statement.”

But First, God serves as the first time the 53-year-old has addressed the controversy and the spiritual journey she’s been on in the wake of the scandal, which she claims has changed her fundamentally.

“Julie Chen, before she found God, was self-absorbed, career-minded, vain, gossipy — fun to be with, but probably kind of a shallow person,” she told GMA. “Julie Chen Moonves, who now knows the Lord, is someone who wants to help others; who wants to look at everyone with a soft heart.”

As for her feelings toward her exit from The Talk, she said, “I don’t know if I could have reconciled if I didn’t have God in my life.”

She also recounted having to tell this news to her son, who was 14 at the time, “I told him there were reports that were false about our family,” Chen Moonves said to GMA. “I kept it simple. I said, ‘If you ever hear anything or read anything, you come to us first. You know this family, you know who we are. Don’t let anyone shake that.”

When asked why she didn’t reference the #MeToo and #BelieveHer movements in her book, Chen Moonves retorted, “I think that’s getting off track from But First, God. I think we all go through hard times in this world and in our life. Mine are not over just because I found Christ. I think we need to keep our focus on Him.”

She continued, “But First, God means God before anything and everything. What I hope people get is what I got out of starting a personal relationship with God. And I want everyone to have that because once I started that, I found peace. But most of all, I found hope.”

In November of last year, CBS and its former president, Moonves, reached an agreement with the New York attorney general’s office, agreeing to pay $30.5 million. While the settlement did not involve an admission of liability, it revealed that CBS executives had allegedly conspired with a Los Angeles police captain to hide sexual assault allegations against Moonves. Moonves, aged 73, also had to compensate stockholders $2.5 million, as Attorney General Letitia James believed they were initially unaware of the allegations against him.

Despite these controversies, Chen Moonves has continued to host Big Brother, now in its 25th season. She shared with Entertainment Weekly this summer that she initially had reservations about taking the role.

Chen Moonves initially believed that the reality show would “revolutionize television,” only to face scathing reviews from all sides during its first season.

As a former news anchor, she feared that the low ratings of the inaugural season would lead to her losing her job. However, to her surprise, she received a call confirming that Big Brother would return for a second season, with her continuing as the host. Additionally, she also hosts the Celebrity Big Brother spinoff.