Julianne Hough Speaks Out About America's Got Talent Exit Amid Controversy

Julianne Hough is reflecting on her and Gabrielle Union's headline-making departure from America's Got Talent. Find out what she had to say about the controversy.

By Jess Cohen Dec 04, 2019 8:31 PMTags
Watch: Julianne Hough & Gabrielle Union Leave "America's Got Talent"

Julianne Hough is reflecting on her and Gabrielle Union's headline-making exits from America's Got Talent.

It was revealed in late November that Hough and Union will not be returning to the NBC competition series for the show's 15th season. This news came as a shock to fans of the talented stars, considering Hough and Union had just joined the series as judges for the show's 14th season. Amid speculation about the duo's departure, Variety published a report stating that Union had expressed concern over "offensive" incidents that allegedly occurred during her time at AGT.

According to the report, one of the alleged incidents involved a visit to AGT from Jay Leno, during which he's claimed to have made an inappropriate joke in front of Union and Hough. It's also stated in the report that Union and Hough were both given "excessive notes on their physical experience," during their time at AGT, which took a toll on morale and "led to the tensions," for Hough in particular. Though Hough later denied this claim.

Everything We Know About Gabrielle Union's America's Got Talent Exit

"I had a wonderful time on America's Got Talent, I loved working with the cast, crew and producers," Hough said in a statement. "I am happy to continue my working relationship with NBC."

In response to the allegations, NBC and Fremantle also released a statement, sharing, "America's Got Talent has a long history of inclusivity and diversity in both our talent and the acts championed by the show. The judging and host line-up has been regularly refreshed over the years and that is one of the reasons for AGT's enduring popularity. NBC and the producers take any issues on set seriously."


On Wednesday, Dec. 4, Hough appeared on People Now for an interview with her brother, Derek Hough. During the interview, the Safe Haven actress was asked about her exit from AGT, and the headlines surrounding her and Union's departure.

"I would just say that...my goodness. I just believe and value, at the highest regard, that everybody has a voice and should be heard, first and foremost," Hough replied. "And then I believe that the paradigm of the workplace and how you do business and work with people now, it's shifting, and I think that the people that really want to see change happen are going to authentically and positively and integrally do that."

She added, "And so that's all I really have to say about that."

Nonetheless, the following day, during an interview with Today, she continued to weigh in on the matter.

"We need to start conversations and I just commend Gabrielle for speaking her truth and starting a conversation," the Holidays With the Houghs star said. "I'm really proud of NBC as well for also showing up and starting a narrative and that's what's going to change the work place and the paradigm that we've been working in for many many years and is shifting and I think that's really exciting."

"Life is crazy and sometimes you can't control things and when obstacles come your way you have to be graceful about it and have integrity," she continued. "I think that people with authenticity and integrity will create change."

And while she has reached out to Union, she hopes they can continue the conversation face-to-face back in L.A. "I think that this is a big conversation," the 31-year-old added. "I think people really want to be a leader of change and I think that people are supporting it."

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