It's "secret" week on The Talk. We heard Sharon Osbourne talk of her "flingy wingy" with Jay Leno. And on Tuesday, Aisha Tyler made everyone weep as she shared her struggles with infertility.
Wednesday was Julie Chen's turn. She revealed that she had plastic surgery years ago to change the look of her eyes.
"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," she recalled.
She asked her news director if she could fill on for vacationing anchors over the holidays.
"And he said, 'You will never be on this anchor desk, because you're Chinese.' He said 'Let's face it Julie, how relatable are you to our community? How big of an Asian community do we really have in Dayton? ... On top of that because of your heritage, because of your Asian eyes, I've noticed that when you're on camera, when you're interviewing someone you look disinterested and bored because your eyes are so heavy, they are so small.' "
She said, "It felt like a dagger in my heart." She wanted a career in broadcasting and hoped to move to New York one day. "It was racism."
She got "very insecure" about it all. She'd watch her segments and, "All I could see was my eyes."
So she began meeting with agents for advice to find a new job.
She said a "big-time agent" told her, "I cannot represent you unless you get plastic surgery to make your eyes look bigger. And I did it."
Chen, 43, showed her before and after pictures, saying "how dramatic" the surgery was, and pointing out, "The eyes are bigger. I look more alert. ... more expressive."
She went on to say, "Now, it's like I sometimes wonder, but I will say after I had that done everything kind of, the ball did roll for me. I struggle with, 'Wow. Did I give in to the man in doing this?' "
Her co-hosts supported her controversial decision. "You made a choice that was good for you and you have represented your race, women and your colleagues," said Sheryl Underwood. "Don't look back."
"It was the right thing to do," said Sharon Osbourne.
"I think you were beautiful before and you're beautiful now," said Sara Gilbert.
Chen said, "I don't like to live with regrets. I did it. I moved on. No one's more proud of being Chinese than I am."