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Julie Chen Moonves is spilling all in her new audiobook, But First, God. The Big Brother host, 53, tells behind-the-scenes details about her time co-hosting The Talk and her sudden exit in 2018. Julie reveals how her co-hosts, including Leah Remini, complained about her while she went on vacation.
“A couple of my co-hosts, while I was away, went to the network and said, ‘We can’t work with Julie anymore. She’s too uptight. She’s not one of us. If she stays, we go.’ And they ended up leaving and I ended up staying,” Julie said, according to Variety. “But what was so hurtful and challenging about this time was that one of the people who left was someone who I became like overnight best friends with after working on The Talk. And that was Leah Remini. We were buddies. We were like going on vacation together, and when she went to the network with this request, I felt betrayed.”
Leah Remini, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Julie Chen, Holly Robinson Peete, Sharon Osbourne, and Sara Gilbert in 2010. (Jim Smeal/BEI/Shutterstock)
Leah, 53, left The Talk in 2011 after just one season. Julie remained a co-host until 2018 when she was forced to leave the show in the wake of husband Les Moonves’ sexual misconduct scandal. Les, the former chairman and CEO of CBS Corporation, was accused of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen women in 2018. He denied the allegations.
Julie admitted that she “iced” Leah out for almost a decade until “God entered the picture big time.” When Julie attended a party where Leah’s husband, Angelo Pagan, was performing, she went up to Angelo and asked for Leah’s number.
“If I didn’t have Jesus in my life at that point, I wouldn’t have gone out of my way to hunt him down and say hello,” Julie explained. “I know God says to forgive. So I called her, she answered. We laughed. We buried the hatchet. And today we’re probably closer than ever. Leah did try to apologize to me a year after our friendship blew up, but I was too hard-hearted to accept it. Without faith in my life, I didn’t understand the importance of forgiveness, but the Bible tells us very clearly to forgive one another.”
Julie Chen and Les Moonves in 2017. (Rob Latour/Shutterstock)
One day before her audiobook’s release, Julie revealed on Good Morning America that it wasn’t her decision to leave The Talk. “That was a hard time,” she said. “I felt stabbed in the back. I was, you know.” In But First, God, Julie noted that she felt like she was “collateral damage” during Les’ scandal and the fallout at CBS. However, she has remained the host of Big Brother on CBS through it all.