Julie Chen’s plastic surgery secret: not a secret since 2004

As part of The Talk’s premiere week stunt, during which each host revealed a never-before-revealed secret, Big Brother host Julie Chen confessed to having plastic surgery. That’s been rumored and speculated about for years, except she already already confessed to plastic surgery in 2004.

On Wednesday’s episode, Julie said that she had plastic surgery as a result of racism. When she was a news reporter in Ohio, she was told she couldn’t be an anchor “because you’re Chinese” and had “Asian eyes.” Later, Julie said, “This one big-time agent basically told me the same thing … he said, ‘I cannot represent you unless you get plastic surgery to make your eyes look bigger.”

Julie told The Talk’s co-hosts and viewers, “I did it,” and showed a photo of her in 1996 pre-surgery and post-surgery to illustrate “how dramatic this surgery really was.” She added that after her surgery, “The ball did roll for me. And I struggle with, wow. Did I give into the man and do this?”

To tease the stunt, Julie Chen said on CBS This Morning, “Each lady is going to reveal a secret that not only have we never told the public, but we haven’t told each other, about ourselves.”

Except, no. While her horrifying reason for getting the surgery may have been new, her plastic surgery hasn’t been a secret for at least nine years. As part of a July 14, 2004, item that asked “how many times has CBS ‘Early Show’ cutie Julie Chen gone under the knife?”, she told the New York Post’s Page Six this:

“Eight years ago I had eye surgery I’ve talked about publicly many times. Other than that, I’ve had to make do with what God gave me.”

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.