Julie Chen Reveals Family Secret on The Talk: My Grandfather Was a Polygamist

 Art Streiber/CBS via Getty Images

That's heavy! Julie Chen shared a bombshell family secret on The Talk on Tuesday, Sept. 16, saying it haunted her for many years.

"The reason we all have family secrets — and the reason we try to keep it a secret — is because it's often something that brings shame to the family," Chen, 44, told her co-hosts. "And my situation was no different. My mom tried to keep this secret from me and my two sisters for a long time. She was afraid for me personally, it would damage my career goals… for the record, I did get her okay to tell this secret. Let me start out by showing you a very old old family photo."

"That's a big family," one of her colleagues noted.

"My grandfather was a polygamist," Chen said as the audience gasped in response. "He had nine wives, six of whom bore him children. He had 11 children that we know of, countless mistresses… I never met my grandfather… all I knew growing up was that he grew up dirt poor. Dirt poor."

Julie on the Talk
Lisette M. Azar/CBS

Chen went on to explain how the extended family affected her grandmother and mother. "As you can imagine this was extremely hard on my grandmother. She was his first wife," Chen explained. "They were in a pre-arranged marriage. This was not the man she chose to marry…. but you grow to love this man. Then you see wife number two come through the door. Number three…number four… the last wife was younger than my uncle, the first-born son."

As for her mother? "It was hard on my mom… on his deathbed he apologized to my mom," Chen said.

Watch her full revelation above.

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