For Julie Chen, the #MeToo movement and 2018 sexual misconduct claims against husband Les Moonves are still touchy subjects.
“That’s not what we’re here to talk about,” Chen told ABC News journalist Juju Chang, who asked about the allegations against Moonves. Instead, Chen wanted the focus of the interview to be on her audio memoir, “But First, God,” in which she recounts finding Christ amid professional and personal turmoil.
In July 2018, Chen’s husband, the former chief executive of CBS, was accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women. The scandal jeopardized both Moonves’ and Chen’s careers at CBS. Within months of the allegations, Chen left daytime’s “The Talk” and Moonves departed the broadcasting company without a severance package.
According to Chang, Chen said in the book that leaving “The Talk” in September 2018 was not her decision. “I never revealed that until ‘But First, God,’” Chen said.
She added: “That was a hard time. I felt stabbed in the back. I was.”
Representatives for “The Talk” did not immediately respond to The Times’ request for comment Tuesday. Chen also said she views her “Talk” job as “making a living off of sinning every day, and having a good time of it.”
The veteran journalist told Chang that “of course” she and Moonves discussed the allegations, repeatedly saying, “I know my husband.” She recalled having to tell their son, Charlie — who turns 14 on Sunday — about the allegations against his father.
“I told him there were reports that were false about our family. I kept it simple,” she recalled. “I said, ‘So if you ever hear anything, you come to us first. You know this family. You know who we are. Don’t let anyone shake that.’”
Later in the conversation, Chang told Chen that there was no direct mention of “#MeToo” in her book and asked the longtime “Big Brother” host about her thoughts on the movement. “Well, I think that’s getting off track from ‘But First, God,’” Chen started.
She continued: “We all go through hard times in this world, in our life, and mine are not over just because I found Christ. I think we need to keep our focus on him.”
Chen shut down speculation that her religious devotion is a “PR rebrand,” noting that publisher Simon & Schuster had approached her about writing a book and that she would donate profits to her favorite church.
She concluded the interview sharing a few hopes for readers who listen to her memoir, now available for purchase on various audio platforms. “God before anything and everything,” she said.
“What I hope people get is what I got out of starting a personal relationship with God,” she added. “I found peace, I found hope.”