Business

Julie Chen Leaves ‘The Talk’ as Allegations Swirl Against Her Husband, Les Moonves

Posted September 18, 2018 8:34 p.m. EDT

Julie Chen, who has co-hosted the award-winning CBS show “The Talk” since it began almost a decade ago, announced Tuesday that she would leave the program as her husband, the former network chief Leslie Moonves, continues to combat sexual harassment allegations against him.

In a video message that was broadcast on “The Talk,” Chen, 48, said she was departing because “right now, I need to spend more time at home with my husband and our young son.” She did not mention Moonves by name.

Still, the decision comes just nine days after Moonves, 68, stepped down as the chief executive of the CBS Corporation amid accusations by a dozen women of sexual misconduct.

Before playing the video message, one of the talk show’s hosts said that Chen had recorded it from the set of the CBS reality television show “Big Brother,” where she was said to be “working on” Wednesday night’s episode.

Three spokeswomen for the network did not immediately respond to an email Tuesday night seeking additional clarification about Chen’s future involvement with “Big Brother.” The season finale is scheduled for later this month.

“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,” CBS said in a statement about Chen’s departure. “We are grateful for her many other contributions, respect her decision and wish Julie all the best in everything she does.”

Last week, Chen, said she was “taking a few days off” from “The Talk” to be with her family. She has defended her husband since the allegations against him emerged.

In July, The New Yorker published an article by the investigative journalist Ronan Farrow in which six women accused Moonves of sexual harassment. Then, on Sept. 9, the magazine published another article by Farrow in which six more women detailed claims against Moonves.

In a statement that CBS shared with The New Yorker for the July article, Moonves said: “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. But I always understood and respected — and abided by the principle — that ‘no’ means ‘no,’ and I have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone’s career.”

After the July article was published, Chen responded with a statement she posted on Twitter, saying she had known Moonves since the 1990s and noting that she had been married to him for almost 14 years.

“Leslie is a good man and a loving father, devoted husband and inspiring corporate leader,” she wrote. “He has always been a kind, decent and moral human being. I fully support my husband and stand behind him and his statement.”

Then, on last Thursday’s episode of “Big Brother,” which Chen has hosted since it first aired in 2000, she signed off in a way she reportedly never had before.

“I’m Julie Chen Moonves,” she said. “Goodnight.”