Julie Chen Moonves opens up about faith and family in new audio memoir

Her memoir claims the decision to exit "The Talk" was made for her by CBS.

September 18, 2023, 8:29 AM

Emmy-award winning journalist and TV host Julie Chen Moonves credits her newfound relationship with God for allowing her to persevere through a turbulent personal era, after her life was turned upside down by sexual misconduct allegations against her husband, Les Moonves, then CEO and chairman of CBS.

Chen Moonves opened up about her commitment to religion in a discussion about her new audio memoir “But First, God,” with “Good Morning America’s” Juju Chang.

PHOTO: Julie Chen Moonves speaks to Juju Chang on "Good Morning America."
Julie Chen Moonves speaks to Juju Chang on "Good Morning America."
ABC News

"What I love is I do not need to come to a church or sit before a cross to pray. I'll pray after I hit the snooze button, lying in bed. I'll pray in the shower. I'll pray sitting in the makeup chair. I'll pray driving. I'll pray anytime, anywhere," Chen Moonves said.

In the last five years, Chen Moonves said she has changed as a person since undergoing a deeper spiritual journey.

"Julie Chen before she found God was a self-absorbed, career-minded, vain, gossipy, fun to be with, but probably kind of a shallow person," she said.

"Julie Chen Moonves, who now knows the Lord, is someone who wants to help others, who wants to look at everyone with a soft heart,” Chen Moonves explained.

Chen Moonves rose to prominence at CBS hosting two hit shows, "The Talk," from 2010 until 2018, and "Big Brother," which she has hosted since 2000.

When asked by Chang if she ever questioned her husband on the allegations levied against him in 2018, Chen Moonves said she had, though shied away from discussing the topic further with Chang.

"That's not what we're here to talk about. But of course. Yeah. I know my husband. You know? I know my husband," she said.

Moonves stepped down from his top role at CBS after more than a dozen women accused him of sexual misconduct, allegations he denies.

The mother of one says in her book that telling the couple’s son was one of the most challenging parts of navigating the family crisis.

"I told him that there were reports that were false about our family, and that, I kept it simple. I said, 'So if you ever hear anything, or you read anything, you come to us first. You know this family. You know who we are. And don't let anyone shake that,'" she said.

In "But First, God," Chen Moonves claims her decision to leave "The Talk" was made for her by colleagues at CBS.

"Yeah, I never revealed that until 'But First, God.' That was a hard time. I felt stabbed in the back. I was, you know?" she said. However, she credits God with helping her reconcile with those colleagues who she felt betrayed her.

"I don't know if I could've reconciled if I didn't have God in my life," Chen Moonves said.

"Good Morning America" has reached out to CBS for comment.

Chen Moonves said she hoped in listening to her new audiobook, her audience will understand what she got out of developing a relationship with God.

PHOTO: "But First, God," an audio memoir by Julie Chen Moonves, is out Sept. 19, 2023.
"But First, God," an audio memoir by Julie Chen Moonves, is out Sept. 19, 2023.
Simon & Schuster

"I want everyone to have that, because once I started that, I found peace. But most of all I found hope," she said.

"But First, God" will be released Sept. 19.