Julie Suzanne Chen Moonves (born January 6, 1970) is an American television personality, news anchor, and producer for CBS. She has been the host of the U.S. version of the CBS reality-television program Big Brother since its debut in July 2000 and is the longest-serving host of any country's version of the show. Chen Moonves was a co-host and the moderator of the CBS Daytime talk show, The Talk, for eight seasons. Previously, she was a co-anchor of The Early Show on CBS.
Julie Chen Moonves
Julie Suzanne Chen
January 6, 1970
|Other names||Julie Chen Moonves|
|Education||University of Southern California|
|Height||5 ft 5 in (165 cm)|
Les Moonves (m. 2004)
The daughter of Chinese immigrants, Julie Chen was born in Queens, New York City. Her grandfather, Lou Gaw Tong, grew up "dirt poor" in the rural village of Penglai in the Fujian province of China, but became wealthy through a chain of grocery stores and ultimately became a polygamist with nine wives and 11 children. Julie has two older sisters, Gladys and Victoria.
Chen attended junior high school in the Whitestone area of Queens. Chen went on to graduate from St. Francis Preparatory School in 1987. She attended the University of Southern California and graduated in 1991, majoring in broadcast journalism and English.
One of her earlier jobs came in June 1990, interning at CBS Morning News alongside Andy Cohen – the series which she would anchor a decade later – where she answered phones and copied faxes for distribution. The following year, while still in school, she worked for ABC NewsOne for one season as a desk assistant. She was subsequently promoted to work as a producer for the next three years. The following year, she traveled to Dayton, Ohio, to work as a local news reporter for WDTN-TV, from 1995 to 1997.
In 2015, Chen revealed on The Talk that during her time in Dayton her news director had told her that she would never become a news anchor because of her "Asian eyes". After a "big-time agent" agreed and advised her to get plastic surgery, she made the decision to have a surgical procedure to reduce the epicanthic folds of her eyes.
From 1999 to 2002, Chen was the anchor of CBS Morning News and news anchor of CBS This Morning and later The Early Show, alongside Bryant Gumbel, Jane Clayson, Hannah Storm, Harry Smith, Maggie Rodriguez, Erica Hill, and Rene Syler. From 2002 to 2010, she was a co-host of The Early Show on CBS, before leaving the daily position but remaining as a special contributing anchor of the program until its cancelation. Before CBS News, she was a reporter and weekend anchor at WCBS-TV in New York City.
Since 2000, she has also been the host of the American version of Big Brother. During the first season (2000), Chen was widely criticized for her heavily scripted, wooden delivery in her interaction with the studio audience and in the interviews on the live programs, earning her the nickname "Chenbot." She has indicated in two interviews that she takes no personal offense at the term, adding that it may derive from her "precise on-air style" which comes from "a desire to be objective." She again acknowledged the nickname while discussing mugs made in her likeness when she proudly proclaimed, "I am the Chenbot!" in a segment on The Early Show.
Chen was the moderator and co-host of the CBS Daytime talk show, The Talk, which premiered on October 18, 2010. The show features Chen, the show creator Sara Gilbert, Sharon Osbourne, Sheryl Underwood and Eve as the co-hosts. Former co-hosts include Leah Remini, Holly Robinson Peete, Marissa Jaret Winokur and Aisha Tyler. On September 18, 2018, Chen announced in a prerecorded tape that she would not be returning to The Talk because she needed "to spend more time at home with [her] husband", after a number of sexual assault allegations surfaced against her husband Moonves.
Following her graduation from the University of Southern California as a broadcasting and English major, she became a news assistant for ABC News in Los Angeles, in September 1991. There, she met her future longtime boyfriend, television news editor Gary Donahue, though their relationship did not last. She began dating Les Moonves, president and chief executive officer of CBS Television, during his marriage to Nancy Wiesenfeld Moonves, and on April 22, 2003, a week after Les Moonves signed a five-year, multimillion-dollar contract with Viacom,), his wife filed for divorce in Los Angeles Superior Court citing irreconcilable differences. Divorce proceedings were delayed for almost two years because of financial settlement disagreements. On December 10, 2004, Moonves got a court to grant an early divorce, leaving spousal support and child support to be determined at a later date.
In September 2013, during the first week of Season 4 of The Talk, Chen revealed that she had undergone blepharoplasty early in her career after being pressured by her previous news director and a high-profile agent. Chen said that her decision "divided" her family, but stated she must "live with every decision that I've made and it got me to where we are today. And I'm not going to look back."
Beginning with the 35th episode of the twentieth season of Big Brother that aired on September 13, 2018, she began using her married name as part of her sign-off, saying, "I'm Julie Chen Moonves. Goodnight." This broke her established pattern where previously she would sign off simply as Julie Chen. The sign-off received a mixed response from viewers and fans on social media. CBS officially confirmed she would return to host the second season of Celebrity Big Brother in a press release on November 27, 2018 using the name "Julie Chen Moonves".
Chen speaks Mandarin Chinese but does not consider herself fluent. Regarding her heritage, she stated: "When my son was born it was like a revival of me trying to get back in touch with my Chinese roots. It's important for me to have it back in my life, so I could put it into my son's life."
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- Julie Chen on IMDb
- Julie Chen on Diversity News Magazine
- Archived biography of Chen from one of her first reporting jobs. - WDTN-TV, Channel 2, Dayton, Ohio.
- Interview with Entertainment Weekly discussing Chen, including her opinion on her nickname "The Chenbot."
- "The Talk Host: Julie Chen (Host)". The Talk. October 21, 2011. Retrieved September 9, 2012.