Julie Chen reveals her grandfather was a polygamist

Sep 16, 2014 at 8:35 p.m. ET
Image: WENN.com

The latest season of The Talk has been a season of announcements. And on Tuesday, Julie Chen revealed a big bombshell about her own life.

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"The reason we all have family secrets — and the reason we try to keep it a secret — is because it's often something that brings shame to the family," Chen told her Talk co-hosts, according to Us Weekly. "And my situation was no different. My mom tried to keep this secret from me and my two sisters for a long time. She was afraid for me personally, it would damage my career goals. For the record, I did get her OK to tell this secret. Let me start out by showing you a very old old family photo."

Chen then showed the photo of her family, to which the other women responded, "That's a big family."

"My grandfather was a polygamist," Chen admitted. "He had nine wives, six of whom bore him children. He had 11 children that we know of, countless mistresses. I never met my grandfather, all I knew growing up was that he grew up dirt poor. Dirt poor."

The Talk co-host said the secret has haunted her for decades and her family’s future was formed by this one man. She seemed ashamed of the secret, but also happy to finally be sharing it.

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"As you can imagine, this was extremely hard on my grandmother. She was his first wife," Chen explained. "They were in a pre-arranged marriage. This was not the man she chose to marry, but you grow to love this man. Then you see wife number two come through the door. Number three… number four… the last wife was younger than my uncle, the first-born son."

Chen said that the secret was hard on her mom, but added that her grandfather tried to make it right in the end.

"On his deathbed, he apologized to my mom," Chen said.

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