Julie Chen Moonves Thinks Leah Remini Has 'a Big Heart' Despite Trying to Oust Her from 'The Talk' (Exclusive)
2023/11/13

While working with on , thought they created a strong bond.

So Chen Moonves, 53, felt deceived when — as she claims in her audio memoir — Remini, also 53, and a few of her other co-hosts “went to the network and said, ‘We can’t work with Julie any more. She’s too uptight. She’s not one of us. If she stays, we go.’”

The situation happened towards the end of season 1 while Chen Moonves was on vacation. "At the time, it felt like a betrayal,” the Daytime Emmy winner tells PEOPLE. “It felt like, ‘Oh, my gosh, they see my intentions are good.’”  

Chen Moonves thinks the tension drew from her giving her co-hosts notes that would typically come from production.

"I started out for four years producing news, so the things that they got upset about were things that I thought would not only make this go better, but also there was a lot of legal stuff,” she says.

For example, the TV personality explains that, when first launched in 2010, her co-hosts wanted to weigh in on the unfolding trial, in which Anthony was charged with first-degree murder of her daughter. Anthony was, ultimately, found not guilty by the jury.

While the trial was ongoing, “They wanted to go on the air and say, ‘She did it. I know she did it,’” Chen Moonves recalls. “The lawyer of the show and I were like, ‘You can't say that. You could say, “In my opinion, I think she's guilty. I don't believe her.”’ They were like, ‘That's not your job to let us know.’”

Remini, and did not return for season 2.

Chen Moonves admits in her memoir that she completely iced out Remini and did not accept the apology the star made to her one year later. Once Chen Moonves developed a relationship with God, however, she decided to reconnect with Remini upon seeing the actress's husband at a party eight years later.

“She has such a big heart,” Chen Moonves tells PEOPLE of Remini. “She's one of the funniest people I know and she's very passionate in her beliefs. She is a good person.”

In fact, since ’s release, Chen Moonves says Remini called her to discuss what happened more than a decade ago behind the scenes of .

“She was like, ‘ is the one who started it,’” Chen Moonves says.  “She was like, ‘Sharon is the one who convinced me and Holly to do this and then she bailed out.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, that definitely tracks.’”

Chen Moonves ended up leaving in 2018 after 12 women accused her husband, then-CBS chairman and CEO , of sexual misconduct. (Last November, Moonves had to pay $2.5 million to CBS stockholders whom New York state Attorney General  believed were kept in the dark initially about the allegations against him — though he never admitted any wrongdoing.) 

“I was feeling lost and angry and confused and just at a loss,” the host says. “I didn't know what to do next. I just felt like I wanted some answers and I didn't know what to do with myself.”

She turned to God, got baptized in 2022 and now belongs to five churches.

“God is full of surprises,” Chen Moonves says. “God is there to help you out, but we need to go to Him first. Give Him all your worries. It's always in the darkest times that it's easiest to see the light.”

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