Julie Chen Confirms ‘The Talk’ Exit After Husband Les Moonves Forced Out Of CBS
TV personality Julie Chen confirmed her departure from “The Talk,” the CBS daytime show she co-hosted over eight seasons, in a message to viewers Tuesday.
In the message, which was taped from the set of “Big Brother,” Chen made no direct mention of the accusations against her husband, former CBS chief Les Moonves. He was ousted from the network he helmed for more than two decades following a series of sexual harassment and assault claims by a dozen women.
The host had indicated earlier that she planned to take “a few days off” to spend time with her family but would still co-host “Big Brother.”
“Right now I need to spend more time at home with my husband and young son, so I’ve decided to leave ‘The Talk,’” she said in the message.
“I know this show and the sisterhood it stands for will live on for many, many, many years to come,” she said.
CBS said in a statement that its executives were grateful for Chen’s “incredible energy, grace and professionalism” and wished her “all the best in everything she does.”
Chen skipped the ninth season premiere of “The Talk” last week and did not appear in any subsequent episodes after news of Moonves’ exit broke. Multiple news outlets reported on her plan to exit the show late Monday evening.
In her absence, however, her colleagues broached the network controversy. Co-host Sharon Osbourne said in the season premiere that “obviously the man has a problem,” referring to Moonves.
Two stories published in The New Yorker have detailed a pattern of alleged misconduct by Moonves spanning the 1980s through the early 2000s. The first article, published in late July, contained accusations from six women who said Moonves had groped and tried to kiss them in business meetings. Actress Illeana Douglas accused him of forcibly pinning her down on a couch as he “violently” kissed and thrust against her. Douglas said she was fired for rebuking him.
Moonves issued a statement in July saying he had never used his position “to harm or hinder anyone’s career” and had followed the principle “that ‘no’ means ‘no.’” In her own statement that month, Chen lent her “full support” to her husband, saying Moonves 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,” she said.
The couple married in 2004 and have one child together.
Accusations from six more women were featured in the second New Yorker article, published Sept. 9. Veteran TV executive Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb told the magazine that Moonves once physically restrained her while forcing her to perform oral sex and, in later incidents, exposed himself to her and became physically violent. A former assistant of Moonves’ said she was similarly forced into a sexual act with the executive.
CBS announced Moonves’ departure within hours of the second New Yorker piece. The network pledged to donate $20 million to the Me Too movement, which would be deducted from any payout owed to Moonves. The amount of his severance depends on the results of an ongoing internal investigation.
In a statement released that night, Moonves said he was “deeply saddened” to leave CBS due to what he called “untrue allegations from decades ago” that are “not consistent” with his persona.