Julie Chen is speaking out about the reaction she has received following her confession that she got plastic surgery at the beginning of her career as a journalist to make her eyes look bigger.
"I felt vulnerable and nervous that the haters who hide behind their computers on the Internet would come out and say mean things," The Talk co-host told Us Weekly in a statement from her publicist. "And some did. That was expected"
Chen said that the negative was outweighed by positive responses.
"I was pleasantly surprised by all the supportive emails, tweets, and postings from our show's viewers who are not Asian, but told me they understood my story," the 43-year-old Chinese-American added. "To them I say, thank you."
The television personality revealed that she was nervous to tell her parents before she told her secret on the show.
"I chickened out of telling my mom before the show aired what my secret was," she explained. "I was overwhelmed with love and relief when she sent me an email right after it aired, saying she and my father could not be more proud of me."
On Wednesday, Sept. 11, Chen said on the program that she went under the knife after one of her former bosses told her that her look would stop her from getting jobs.
"My secret dates back to—my heart is racing—it dates back to when I was 25 years old and I was working as a local news reporter in Dayton, Ohio," Chen told the audience. "I asked my news director [if] over the holidays, if anchors want to take vacations, could I fill in? And he said, 'You will never be on this anchor desk, because you're Chinese.'"
She continued, "He said, 'Let's face it Julie, how relatable are you to our community? How big of an Asian community do we have in Dayton? On top of that, because of your Asian eyes, I've noticed that when you're on camera, you look disinterested and bored.'"
After being told similar comments from other people in the industry, Chen discussed the surgery with her parents, and with their support, got the procedure done. "And after I had it done, the ball did roll for me," she said. "And I wondered, did I give in to The Man?"
"I have to live with every decision that I've made," she said. "And it got me to where we are today. And I'm not going to look back."
In response to sharing her secret, the Asian American Journalists Association released an official statement praising Chen for reminding everyone that this is a reminder "of the daily struggles Asian Americans face in the workplace across all industries, not just in broadcast journalism."