Julie Chen Reveals Her Grandfather Was A Polygamist With Nine Wives And Countless Mistresses

 

It’s that time of year again– It’s secret week on The Talk which means the hosts build up the courage to tell  their deepest, darkest secrets to the world.

“My secret is a secret that has haunted me for many years,” Julie Chen said with great effort on Tuesday’s episode of The Talk. Chen specifically shows an unbelievable amount of courage here. After all, revealing her other secret had hurtful results.

Last year, Julie Chen revealed that nearly 20 years ago, she had undergone plastic surgery in order to push her career forward. Unfortunately, this big reveal was met with a storm of negative responses from people who believed this move was denying her heritage and was efforts to look less Asian.  Despite the harsh criticism and negative comments, Chen mustered up the courage to tell yet another dark secret.

“My mom tried to keep this secret from me and my two sisters for a long time. For as long as she could,” Chen said slowly. “She was afraid for me, personally– it would damage my career goals, my dreams of being a broadcaster, my reputation. For the record, I did get her OK to tell this secret…My secret that I have been harboring for years is that my grandfather was a polygamist.”

According to Chen, her grandfather had nine wives, even more grandchildren and countless mistresses. Chen then reveals that her uncle had twenty children from his four wives.

Although Chen never met her grandfather, she knew of the emotional toll polygamy took on her grandmother who had to watch her husband take on more and more wives. Chen also described the emotional toll that the polygamy lifestyle had on her mother, who ultimately chose to have a monogamous marriage.

“It is a family secret, which we all have. The reason we all have family secrets and the reason we try and keep it a secret is because it’s often something that brings shame to the family — and my situation is no different.”

Fortunately, the experience appears to have brought some relief to Chen who was finally given the opportunity to share her secret. She tweeted:

Watch the emotional reveal below:

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Julie Chen Feels Hurt By Asian American Community

Story by James S. Kim 

After CBS talk show host Julie Chen’s admission to having plastic surgery on The Talk last week sparked a series of headlines and debates, the TV personality said the most hurtful thing about the reaction was judgmental comments from members of the Asian American community.

In 1995, When Chen was a reporter at WDTN-TV in Ohio, the news director told Chen that she couldn’t become an anchor because she wouldn’t be “relatable” to the community as an Asian, and that her eyes made her look “disinterested” and “tired.” Chen’s agent told her the same thing, and she went ahead with the procedure.

Yesterday, the hosts of The Talk offered their opinions on the reactions to their secrets. Chen admitted that she did find some of the comments hurtful to read.

“I wasn’t that there were haters judging me for what I did,” said Chen. “What was hurtful was that the hateful comments that I read were from people within my own community. It was like, ‘Way to give in to the Western standards of beauty. You’re denying your heritage.” Well guess what? I don’t look any less Chinese. I’m not fooling anyone.”

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She continued, “I want people to understand that there are Asians born with the crease I had surgically done to my eyes, so the goal was never to look less Asian.”

Sifting through the debate shows that there are many multiple layers to issue. From racism to the merits of plastic surgery, the conversation has been incredibly diverse, and sometimes divisive, just as it was with Chen’s own family when she first told them about her decision.

The comments left on the KoreAm Facebook page was a prime example. One person said, “This shouldn’t have to do with looking ‘less Asian’ as much as it has to do with just looking less unattractive.”

Still, most comments disagreed on whether Chen underwent surgery for the right reasons. Some agreed that plastic surgery is fine as long as “it doesn’t falsely feed an obsessive, deep rooted insecurity and/or becomes an addiction.” One such example might be Korean culture, which, one comment said, has a standard of “idealized looks” where plastic surgery becomes the norm.

The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) applauded Chen’s confession, saying that it put Asian American issues in the public dialogue. Grace Hwang Lynch wrote on BlogHer.com that the discussion as it happened on The Talk was “oversimplified,” but that she was glad that Chen decided to talk about her surgery and her experiences with racial discrimination.

This story was originally published by KoreAm Journal