|Born||Julie Suzanne Chen
(1970-01-06) January 6, 1970
Queens, New York City, U.S.
|Education||University of Southern California|
|Net worth||$50 million|
|Spouse(s)||Leslie Moonves (m. 2004)|
|Website||Official CBS Bio|
Julie Suzanne Chen (a.k.a Chenbot) (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. She is also a co-host and the moderator of the CBS daytime show The Talk. Previously, she was a co-anchor of The Early Show on CBS.
The daughter of Chinese immigrants, Julie Chen was born in Queens, New York City. Her grandfather, Lou Gaw Tong, was born in Penglai Village, Anxi County, Fujian, China and grew up “dirt poor” in rural China but managed to become affluent and ultimately became a polygamist who had nine wives and eleven children. Julie’s mother, Wan Ling Chen, married a man named Yen Chun Chen “who could not be more opposite than who her father was”, and the couple have been married for over 50 years. 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 news anchor for WDTN-TV, from 1995 to 1997. During her time in Dayton, Chen had plastic surgery on her eyes to make her eyes look larger.
From 1999 to 2002, Chen was the anchor for CBS Morning News and news anchor for 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 for The Early Show on CBS, before leaving the daily position but remaining as a Special Contributing Anchor for 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 in the media 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 separate interviews, that she takes no personal offense to 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 The Early Show.
Chen is the moderator of the CBS daytime talk show The Talk, which premiered on October 18, 2010. The show is similar to The View although not as politicized. The show currently features Chen, Aisha Tyler, Sharon Osbourne, show creator Sara Gilbert, and Sheryl Underwood as the co-hosts. Former co-hosts include Marissa Jaret Winokur, Leah Remini, and Holly Robinson Peete.
In January 2015, Chen guest-starred in the NCIS: Los Angeles episode “In The Line of Duty” portraying a U.S. Ambassador.
Following her graduation from USC as a broadcasting and English major, she became a news assistant for ABC News in Los Angeles, California, in September 1991. There, she met her future longtime boyfriend, television news editor Gary Donahue. Leslie Moonves, president and chief executive officer of CBS Television, began dating the Big Brother host during his marriage to Nancy Wiesenfeld Moonves. On April 22, 2003, a week after Les Moonves signed a five-year multimillion-dollar contract with Viacom, his wife filed for divorce in L.A. Superior Court, citing irreconcilable differences, according to her lawyer Dennis Wasser. 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.
On December 23, 2004, Chen and Moonves were married in a private ceremony attended by friends and family at a private home in Acapulco, Mexico. On September 24, 2009, Chen gave birth to their son, Charlie Moonves.
On September 11, 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 she stated 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.”
Chen can speak Mandarin Chinese but is not entirely fluent. Regarding her heritage, she stated: “[W]hen 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.” She is also a devoted yogini.