“I have been at The Talk since the day it started nine year ago,” Chen said in a message that viewers were told had been recorded on Big Brother’s set moments earlier (see it below). Chen has not been seen on The Talk since Season 9 began September 10, after her husband Leslie Moonves stepped down as CEO of CBS Corp amid a pair of New Yorker reports that alleged past sexual misconduct.
While saying The Talk cast, crew and staff had become “family to me,” Chen explained today, “right now I need to spend more time at home with my husband and our young son. So I have decided to leave The Talk.”
Chen had announced moments before the season debut that she “was taking a few days off” to be with her family.
Moonves’ exit following the New Yorker‘s publication of a second Ronan Farrow article in which more women accused the veteran TV exec of inappropriate workplace conduct and sexual harassment.
Chen’s return to The Talk seemed unlikely given that, after Farrow’s first New Yorker piece about her husband in July, she responded with a defiant statement:
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.
Addressing The Talk viewers back then, Chen added, “I will stand by that statement today, tomorrow, forever.”
Pretty much eliminating any possibility of Chen’s return to The Talk, fellow panelist Sharon Osbourne appeared to pull off a palace coup on the show’s debut, telling viewers “it’s very embarrassing and upsetting to have to talk about [Julie’s] husband,” but “obviously the man has a problem.”
Speculation that Chen would step down grew even louder when she stayed away this past Monday.
Chen, who also hosts CBS’ reality internecine backstab competition series Big Brother, did return to that reality competition series Thursday, for its live double-elimination episode. Without addressing the situation directly, she signaled continued support for her husband, closing the broadcast saying, “from outside the Big Brother House with [Brett], I’m Julie Chen Moonves. Good night.”
It was the first time she had used her husband’s name on air.
Closing out The Talk today via taped message, Chen said, “I will always cherish the memories we share” she told her on-air colleagues. “Most important, I want to thank you, the viewers for allowing me into your home every day. It was a privilege that I will forever be grateful for.”
She paid tribute to each of her on-air colleagues, telling the day’s guest host Carrie Ann Inaba “In my opinion you look awfully good sitting there, my Asian sister. I’m just saying!”
Show creator Sara Gilbert responded, thanking Chen for “all you did to contribute to the success of the show.”