Julie Chen's family secrets revealed on 'Who Do You Think You Are?'

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Julie Chen's Family Secrets Revealed on 'Who Do You Think You Are?'

Celebrity ancestry show "Who Do You Think You Are?" kicks off its sixth season on March 8, and the first episode takes "The Talk" host Julie Chen to China to learn more about the grandfather she never met.

"My big secret is my grandfather was a polygamist," Chen revealed on "The Talk" back in September. "He had nine wives."

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Chen admitted she saw her grandfather as a "womanizer," but doing more research into his life on "Who Do You Think You Are?" allowed her to see a different side to his story.

Julie Chen through the years
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Julie Chen's family secrets revealed on 'Who Do You Think You Are?'
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 06: Julie Chen attends the AOL Build Speaker Series to discuss 'The Talk' at AOL HQ on September 6, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Pont/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES - AUGUST 26: The 7 Wonders of THE TALK! Season 7 premieres with shocking reveals, behind the scenes secrets, surprising reunions and more. Monday, Sept. 12, 2:00 PM ET/1:00 PM, PT/CT on the CBS Television Network. Julie Chen, shown (Photo by Robert Ascroft/CBS via Getty Images)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 02: Julie Chen attends the 4th annual CBS Television Studios Summer Soiree at Palihouse on June 2, 2016 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 18: Julie Chen attends 2016 CBS Upfront at The Plaza on May 18, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Eisman/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 01: (L-R) TV personalities Sheryl Underwood, Sara Gilbert, Sharon Osbourne, Aisha Tyler, and Julie Chen walk the red carpet at the 43rd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel on May 1, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for NATAS)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 25: TV host Julie Chen attends the naming of the Julie Chen/Leslie Moonves and CBS Media Center at The Wallis Annenberg Hall At The University Of Southern California on February 25, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 22: (EXCLUSIVE ACCESS, SPECIAL RATES APPLY) Julie Chen attends the 2015 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 22, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/VF15/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 22: CBS Corporation CEO Leslie Moonves (L) and wife TV personality Julie Chen attend the 2015 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 22, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - FEBRUARY 11: Oscar-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson visits the ladies of 'The Talk,' Wednesday, February 11, 2015 on the CBS Television Network. From left, Sara Gilbert, Sheryl Underwood, Taraji P. Henson, Julie Chen, Sharon Osbourne and Aisha Tyler, shown. (Photo by Lisette M. Azar/CBS via Getty Images)
Julie Chen attends the 37th Annual Kennedy Center Honors at The Kennedy Center Hall of States on Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014, in Washington. (Photo by Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Les Moonves, chairman and CEO of CBS, left, and Julie Chen arrive at the 71st annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
Julie Chen arrives at the 40th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards on Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
Julie Chen attends the CBS Upfront on Wednesday, May 15, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
TV personality Julie Chen arrives at the 2013 Vanity Fair Oscars Viewing and After Party on Sunday, Feb. 24 2013 at the Sunset Plaza Hotel in West Hollywood, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Julie Chen arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar party on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012, in West Hollywood, Calif. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)
Les Moonves, President and CEO of CBS Corporation, and his wife Julie Chen pose at the official launch party for the video game "Rage," Friday, Sept. 30, 2011, in Los Angeles. The first-person shooter video game will be released on October 4. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Co-hosts Julie Chen tapes an episode of the CBS talk show "The Talk" at Alice Tully Hall in New York, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)

"I didn't think of him beyond the rich successful guy who had lots of woman," the TV personality said in a visit to the ET stage. "But this journey allowed me to see him as a patriot."

Chen, who also met a distant cousin on her trip to China, learned that her grandfather started a school in his village after his mother was kidnapped and killed by a group of bandits.

"It was because of that incident that my grandfather built a school in his village," she revealed. "He wanted to teach people that there was another way of life if you get an education."

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The Talk host found herself unexpectedly emotional when reading her grandfather's death announcement and obituary in local papers.

"That surprised me, because I never knew him," Chen admitted. "It wasn't a revelation that I was going to read about his death, and it just struck me. Seeing his picture, that I saw in family photo albums growing up, in the newspaper article and talking about who he's survived by, it just caught me off guard."

Distant relatives still pray to the memory of Chen's grandfather, and she was even able to meet some living tributes to his work: the children who attend the school that her grandfather founded.

"That was amazing," she said. "To see these little faces, the future of this town where my grandfather hails from and that they're getting an education and they all knew who he was and they said it with pride. It really filled my heart."

"Who Do You Think You Are?" premieres March 8 on TLC.

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