In her new audiobook, But First, God, Chen Moonves claimed that she was met with an “icy” reception at work after returning from a vacation.
“A couple of my cohosts, 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,” she alleged. “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.”
Chen Moonves kept her distance from Remini for almost a decade until turning to Christianity and learning about forgiveness. She later saw Remini’s husband, Angelo Pagan, at a party and asked for Remini’s phone 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,” Chen Moonves 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.”
Chen Moonves left The Talk in 2018, nine days after her husband, Les Moonves, was fired from his role as chairman of CBS. At the time, Moonves, 73, had been accused of sexual assault by multiple women. He denied the allegations — and Chen Moonves was his most vocal defender.
Upon confirming her exit from the show, Chen Moonves noted in a video that she would “always cherish the memories” she made as part of the daytime panel. In her audiobook, Chen Moonves further reflected on the circumstances behind her departure.
“Two of my cohosts called the powers at CBS and said, ‘If Julie shows up to work tomorrow, we’re not coming in.’ So, I was basically told, ‘Please don’t come back to work anymore,’” she alleged, going on to detail the emotional toll of the situation. “After my husband and I left our jobs, I was a ball of mixed emotions and at the top of the list I was angry, I was frustrated, I felt robbed, and I felt wronged. I felt like so many people that I loved and trusted or thought were friends … wow, they did me so dirty.”
Chen Moonves remains married to her husband, whom she wed in 2004, and is still the host of CBS’ long-running reality competition series Big Brother.