Big Brother Host Discovers God in Trial
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In September 2018, life in the Moonves home was suddenly turned upside down. As Julie explains it, her husband, Les Moonves, longtime Chairman and CEO of CBS, was trying to prevent a merger of the broadcast giant with a sister media company. It was then that some misconduct allegations suddenly arose against him, leading to an agreement to separate from CBS. Within days, Julie was told that two of her co-hosts on the talk show, The Talk, which she had been co-hosting and moderating for eight years, said they would no longer work with her because of all the chaos. She was asked not to return. “In short: I was collateral damage,” Julie says. “After my husband and I left our jobs, I was a ball of mixed emotions and at the top of the list I was angry, I was frustrated, I felt robbed, and I felt wronged. I felt like so many people that I loved and trusted or thought were friends … wow, they did me so dirty.” In despair, Julie’s thoughts began to turn to God.
A couple of months after the painful loss of these cherished jobs, Julie received a text from a former colleague she loved working with, Lee. It had been 21 years since the two had contact, and Lee saw in the news that Julie’s life seemed to be in turmoil. A pastor at that point, Lee wanted her to know that he and his wife were praying for her. His gesture meant the world to Julie. Not long after, she received an email from her favorite aunt, Celia. She encouraged Julie to give herself and her burdens to Jesus Christ, who would carry them for her, bless her and give her peace. “It was so heartfelt. It was so touching. It was so pure, and it was full of love. I wrote back immediately to my Aunt Celia because I was so moved.”
Those overtures started Julie thinking she really needed God in her life, whom she had largely ignored for her first 48 years. After dropping her then eight-year-old son, Charlie, off at school that day, she stopped by a church near their home. It was empty, so she felt free to step into a pew, kneel down, and pray. “I started bawling. I started asking God for help, guidance, truth, justice. I asked Him why? Why is this happening to me? Why has my life been completely rocked and turned upside down? She started going to church most Sundays. When her friend, Lee, and his wife sent her a Bible, she had lots of questions for them, and they became – and still are – her spiritual mentors. She says that’s when her walk with Christ really took off.
As Julie spent time seeking God in His Word, praying, developing relationships with other believers, and being part of a church (several, actually), she saw her character grow and priorities shift. One example is that she’d had no desire to be a mother most her life, being more interested in her career. When her husband urged her to reconsider, she did. Their son, Charlie, now 14, is the delight of her life.
Another way Julie says she’s experienced spiritual growth is the ability to forgive. When she first lost her position on The Talk, she was angry, bitter, and honestly, wanted revenge on those whom she felt betrayed her. Though it took time, she’s now able to say the Lord has worked in her heart. “People tend to say that time heals all wounds and time did help, but it was God that healed that deep cut, and I definitely did find forgiveness …I’m happy to report that since that tough day, I have talked to both of these people and truly all is forgiven.”
Julie describes another time when her faith grew as a response to an answer to prayer. In May of 2021, she woke with a clogged right ear. An ENT doctor told her she had an inexplicable sudden hearing loss of 80%, and while he would treat her with a series of shots, there was only a 30% chance of her hearing being restored. The first shot was exceedingly painful, but she held onto hope. Later that day, in her online Bible study, she asked the group to pray for her ear, which they were happy to do. When she returned to the doctor the next week, they did a hearing test before the second shot. The doctor told her she didn’t need another shot, as her hearing had returned to 100%. Her general practioner later told her that was highly unusual and she’d been lucky. “I realized this wasn’t luck. This was God. That’s when I gave the glory to God.”
Julie says she sees all of life through a new lens now, that of her growing faith. She even refers to herself as the “New Julie.” Some of the life issues she looks at differently are:
• Money. Being part of a minority race in the U.S., Julie often felt rejected growing up. She saw that people who made a lot of money were usually treated better and she craved that acceptance. Julie says she’s learned to be less selfish and more giving.
• Pride. Julie says before coming to Christ, she had quite an ego, constantly compared herself to others, and often felt superior. Then she came to understand that pride is a sin and tries to see others as Jesus would.
• Vanity. Anyone who works in front of a camera is concerned about appearance, Julie says, and admits she was once obsessed with her looks and possessions. “But what I want now as new Julie is to be able to walk into a room and all anyone sees is that she is a child of God.”
• Trials. Whether it was her sister’s cancer diagnosis, being out in dangerous road conditions, or any of life’s many challenges, Julie testifies that she’s now better equipped to handle them. She loves the story of Jesus in the boat when the storm arose and how He was in control of it all.
Having ignored God for much of her life, Julie wants people to know that it’s never too late to come to Him, or to deepen one’s relationship with the Lord. “Every day He can use us and give us peace.”
To purchase Julie Chen Moonves' audio memoir, But First, God, please click the link: But First, God.
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