Julie Chen reveals tragic family kidnapping and murder: 'I learned something very valuable'

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Julie Chen is opening up about a horrific family incident that taught her "something very valuable" about dealing with tragedy.

Chen revealed on The Talk on Thursday that her maternal great-grandmother was kidnapped alongside her aunt, and eventually murdered.

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"The bandits said they would kill them if a large ransom wasn't paid," the Big Brother host recounted after explaining that her grandfather worked his way up to become the most successful businessman in his native Burma, and was therefore targeted for his money.

Chen's grandfather decided to pay the ransom amount, entrusting her uncle with the funds. Unfortunately, the uncle "double-crossed" Chen's grandfather and "disappeared into the night with the money."

PHOTOS: Julie Chen through the years

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Julie Chen through the years
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Julie Chen through the years
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)
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Her great-grandmother was killed as a result, but the harrowing experience inspired Chen's grandfather to do something for his community.

"He built a school, hoping that people don't feel like they have to live a life of crime," Chen told her co-hosts. "He said if everyone was afforded an education then they have the tools to learn how to survive on their own."

Years later, Chen appeared on an episode of TLC's Who Do You Think You Are?, where she traveled to her grandfather's school.

"After talking to everybody I really felt the sense of gratitude, because everyone told me this school has completely turned this neighborhood around," she continued. "What my grandfather did essentially worked."

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Chen went on to reveal how her grandfather's act of kindness changed her perspective.

"I personally learned something very valuable," she said. "When you're faced with something so tragic you can either choose the darkness, or you can choose the light."

MORE: EXCLUSIVE: Julie Chen Gets Emotional Reading Her Grandfather's Obit on 'Who Do You Think You Are?'

PHOTOS: A look at 'The Talk'

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'The Talk' through the years
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'The Talk' through the years
LOS ANGELES - FEBRUARY 22: Actress America Ferrera discusses her new television series on 'The Talk,' Monday, February 22, 2016 on the CBS Television Network. From left, Sheryl Underwood, Sara Gilbert, America Ferrera, Sharon Osbourne, Aisha Tyler and Julie Chen, shown. (Photo by Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images)
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)
LOS ANGELES - MAY 9: Television host Craig Ferguson visits 'The Talk,' Monday, May 9, 2016 on the CBS Television Network. From left, Sheryl Underwood, Sara Gilbert, Craig Ferguson, Leeza Gibbons, Aisha Tyler and Julie Chen, shown. '(Photo by Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - MAY 11: Actor Bradley Whitford discusses his new television biopic on 'The Talk,' Wednesday, May 11, 2016 on the CBS Television Network. From left, Bradley Whitford, Sharon Osbourne, and Julie Chen, shown. (Photo by Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - MAY 9: Television host Craig Ferguson visits 'The Talk,' Monday, May 9, 2016 on the CBS Television Network. From left, Sheryl Underwood, Sara Gilbert, Craig Ferguson, Leeza Gibbons, Aisha Tyler and Julie Chen, shown. (Photo by Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - APRIL 21: Actor Joel Kinnaman discusses his television series on 'The Talk,' Friday, April 22, 2016 on the CBS Television Network. From left, Carnie Wilson, Sara Gilbert, Joel Kinnaman, Sharon Osbourne, Aisha Tyler and Julie Chen, shown. (Photo by Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - APRIL 12: Academy award winners Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon discuss the 25th Anniversary of 'Thelma & Louise' on 'The Talk,' Tuesday, April 19, 2016 on the CBS Television Network. 'The Talk' hosts celebrate the 25th Anniversary of 'Thelma & Louise' with actresses Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon on 'The Talk,' Tuesday, April 19, 2016 on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - APRIL 12: Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon discusses her new film 'The Meddler' on 'The Talk,' Tuesday, April 19, 2016 on the CBS Television Network. From left, Sara Gilbert, Susan Sarandon, Sharon Osbourne, shown. (Photo by Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - FEBRUARY 25: Award-winning singer, songwriter, musician Sir Elton John discusses his new album, 'Wonderful Crazy Night' on 'The Talk,' Friday, February 26, 2016 on the CBS Television Network. From left, Sheryl Underwood, Sara Gilbert, Sir Elton John, Sharon Osbourne, Aisha Tyler and Carnie Wilson, shown. (Photo by Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - FEBRUARY 22: 'Top Talker' Nancy O'Dell ('Entertainment Tonight') visits 'The Talk,' Tuesday, February 23, 2016 on the CBS Television Network. From left, Sheryl Underwood, Sara Gilert, Nancy O'Dell, Sharon Osbourne, Aisha Tyler and Julie Chen, shown. (Photo by Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - JANUARY 27: Comedy legend Carol Burnett discusses her SAG Life Achievement Award on 'The Talk,' Wednesday, January 27, 2016 on the CBS Television Network. From left, Sheryl Underwood, Sara Gilbert, Carol Burnett, Sharon Osbourne, Aisha Tyler and Julie Chen, shown. (Photo by Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images)
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