“Since we started season nine last week, Julie Chen has not appeared on the show,” co-host Eve said at the top of Tuesday’s episode. “Today you will hear from her before this hour is up.”
Chen, who notably signed off from her other job as host of CBS’ Big Brother as “Julie Chen Moonves” last week, chose not to appear in person for her final farewell on Tuesday’s show. Instead, she spoke to viewers via a somewhat stilted taped message that aired at the end of the hour and veered in tone from defiant to heartfelt.
Speaking from the Big Brother set, Chen said, “I have been at the The Talk since the day it started nine years ago, and the cast, crew and staff have become family over the years. 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 thanked the show’s viewers and “everyone behind the scenes,” tearing up as she said, “I send you my love, and I will miss you all very, very much.” After delivering a personal message to each of the remaining co-hosts, Chen said, “You ladies got this, and I cannot be more proud to call you my friends.”
She did not mention the more than a dozen sexual harassment and assault allegations against her husband. And nor did her hosts, who thanked Chen for her “kind words” before quickly signing off and ending the show.
A source close to Chen told The Daily Beast, “Julie made the decision late last week to step down and focus on her family. She is remaining on Big Brother. The Big Brother finale is next week, which frees up her schedule for months so she can focus on her family without leaving the show.” As the source explained, unlike The Talk, Big Brother requires her presence just “one full day weekly and then an hour or so on another day.”
Last week, the hosts discussed the allegations against Moonves without Chen present. They spent much of the conversation focused on their personal admiration for Chen, but also acknowledged their former boss’ victims.
“This is an important time in our culture and just because this hits close to home, it doesn't change this story,” co-host Sara Gilbert said at the time. “All women’s stories matter and these women’s stories matter. You know, this is very serious and the appropriate actions need to take place. And so I am happy when women are heard because for a long time, they haven’t been.”
—With reporting from Lloyd Grove