7:03pm PT by Brian Porreca
Julie Chen Supports Les Moonves in 'Big Brother' Return: "I'm Julie Chen Moonves"
After taking a hiatus from her post on The Talk, Julie Chen returned to CBS to host Big Brother on Thursday night, but chose not to address the latest allegations of sexual misconduct against her husband Leslie Moonves for most of the show.
That was until the very end of the episode, where she seemed to show support for him by signing off the show with: "I'm Julie Chen Moonves. Goodnight."
It was off-script from her usual signoff, and the first time she has used the last name Moonves on the show.
Chen did not attend The Talk's season nine premiere the morning after Moonves was ousted as chairman and CEO of CBS, following Ronan Farrow's latest New Yorker article that detailed new allegations of sexual assault made against Moonves.
Chen had said of her absence from the morning show: "I am taking a few days off from The Talk to be with my family. I will be back soon and will see you Thursday night on Big Brother."
In Chen's initial statement after Farrow's July 27 exposé that detailed six other claims of sexual misconduct against Moonves, she said: "Some of you may be aware of what's been going on in my life the past few days. I issued the one and only statement I will ever make on this topic on Twitter. And I will stand by that statement today, tomorrow, forever."
The statement she was referring to read in full: "I have known my husband, Leslie Moonves, since the mid-90s, and I have been married to him for almost 14 years. Leslie is a good man and loving father, devoted husband and inspiring corporate leader. He has always been a kind, decent and moral human being. I fully support my husband and stand by him and his statement."
This week on The Talk, Chen's co-hosts Eve, Sara Gilbert, Sharon Osbourne and Sheryl Underwood have not shied away from speaking about their now-former boss.
Said Osbourne, "As you all know, Julie's husband is in the news and she's taking off time to be with her family. It's very embarrassing and upsetting to have to talk about her husband."
Added Gilbert of Chen, with whom she has shared The Talk hosting duties since season one: "I support her always. However, this is an important time in our culture and just because this hits close to home, it doesn't change this story. All women's stories matter. This is very serious and the appropriate actions need to take place. I am happy when women are heard because for a long time they haven't been."
For Chen, whether or not she stays at the network remains to be seen. She has yet to reveal when she will return to The Talk. While Big Brother, which has been a summer flagship for CBS, has yet to be renewed, its celebrity installment Celebrity Big Brother is due to return for a second season.
See a clip of Chen's signoff, below.