Julie Chen Moonves said she questioned her husband, Leslie Moonves, over the 2018 sexual abuse allegations that resulted in his resignation as CBS CEO and disputed a previous statement that she made the decision to leave The Talk after a decade as co-host.
Chen Moonves opened up about both topics, while also declining to discuss the “believe her” movement with Juju Chang on Good Morning America on Monday. The Big Brother host appeared as part of a segment promoting her new memoir, But First, God, in which she details how in the past five years she “found God.” It’s an experience she says changed her from her a “self-absorbed, career-minded, vain, gossipy, fun to be with, but probably kind of a shallow person.”
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During the discussion, Chen Moonves claimed that despite her statement announcing her departure from The Talk in 2018 as a move of her own, her exit was not on her own terms.
At the time, she said in a taped segment, “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, so I’ve decided to leave The Talk.”
But while speaking to GMA, Chen Moonves reversed course, stating that she had “never revealed” that she was asked to leave the show until her memoir. “That was a hard time. I felt stabbed in the back. I was, you know?” she said.
Chen Moonves added that she had reconciled, but “I don’t know if I could’ve reconciled if I didn’t have God in my life.”
Chen Moonves’ exit from The Talk followed a 2018 exposé in The New Yorker detailing sexual misconduct allegations against Moonves, including claims of forcible touching or kissing, physical intimidation and threats to derail careers.
An internal investigation found that there was merit to the allegations and the former CEO was denied his severance, with Moonves and what was then ViacomCBS settling their arbitration over his firing.
In 2022, Moonves and Paramount Global also agreed to pay more than $9 million to shareholders in a deal with the New York state attorney general over sexual misconduct claims against Moonves.
At the time of the initial allegations, Chen Moonves issued a statement on social media, writing that she has known her husband for decades. “Leslie is a good man and loving father, devoted husband and inspiring corporate leader,” she said. “He has always been a kind, decent and moral human being. I fully support my husband and stand by him.”
While talking to GMA, Chen Moonves was asked whether she had questioned her husband about the allegations. “That’s not what we’re here to talk about,” she told Chang. “But of course, yeah. I know my husband. You know? I know my husband.”
The Big Brother host did address an element of her memoir in which she described the personal difficulties around telling their son about the allegations. “I told him that there were reports that were false about our family, and that, I kept it simple,” she recalled. “I said, ‘So if you ever hear anything, or you read anything, you come to us first. You know this family. You know who we are. And don’t let anyone shake that.'”
Chen Moovnes also declined to directly address her position on the “believe her” movement that followed the wave of #MeToo allegations starting in 2017, including those against her husband.
“Well, I think that’s getting off track from But First, God,” she said. “I think people — we all go through hard times in this world, in our life. Mine are not over just because I found Christ. I think we need to keep our focus on him.”
A representative for CBS directed The Hollywood Reporter to reps for The Talk, who have not responded to THR’s request for comment.
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