Thu. Apr 18th, 2024

Wendy Williams’ Health and Personal Struggles Through the Years

By Michael Feb 23, 2024

Wendy Williams has made headlines for much more than her brutally honest opinions and on-air spats with her A-list interviewees.

The talk show host has found herself face-to-face with numerous health and personal struggles, from struggling with a cocaine addiction in the beginning of her career, to more recently, battling Graves’ disease, hyperthyroidism and other physical ailments.

Williams’ marriage has also been a hot topic as her ex-husband, Kevin Hunter, had been accused of living a double life and being unfaithful to her. After Hunter welcomed a baby with another woman in March 2019, Williams finally pulled the plug on their 21-year marriage. The former couple finalized their divorce in January 2020.

The pair’s ups and downs were explored in Williams’ January 2021 Lifetime biopic, Wendy Williams: The Movie, and the follow up documentary titled Wendy Williams: What a Mess. She described the films as a “breakup project” in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

Williams didn’t hold back sharing the darker parts of her past in the films as viewers learned that she is the survivor of sexual assault and got a more in-depth look at her struggles with substance abuse. Williams also recalled receiving “endless calls” with supportive messages about her prior miscarriages, which she experienced before welcoming her son in 2000.

Scroll down to take a look back at William’s health and personal struggles:

Hunter’s Affair Rumors
In September 2017, the Daily Mail published photos of Hunter hanging out with a woman named Sharina Hudson in New Jersey. The U.K. newspaper claimed that he had purchased a home for the massage therapist just nine miles down the road from the house he shared with Williams. The report further alleged that Hunter and Hudson had been romantically involved for more than 10 years. The next morning, Williams said on The Wendy Williams Show that she will “stand by my guy” and assured viewers not to “believe the hype.”
Johnny Nunez/WireImage
Fainting on Live TV
The Emmy nominee fainted on air in October 2017 while wearing a Statue of Liberty costume for Halloween. Producers rushed to her rescue when she collapsed to the floor as the broadcast cut to a commercial break. The host returned minutes later, explaining that she simply “overheated in my costume.”

Flu Scare
Williams was forced to cancel three episodes of her syndicated show during the week of Valentine’s Day in February 2018 after experiencing flu-like symptoms. She noted on Instagram that she had not taken “a sick day EVER in over 25 years,” and returned as promised the following Monday.
Manny Hernandez/Getty Images
Graves’ Disease and Thyroid Issues
The former radio host took three weeks off from The Wendy Williams Show from late February to mid-March 2018 due to issues with Graves’ disease and hyperthyroidism. “Wendy’s doctor prescribed a necessary three weeks of rest to get her levels and medication in sync,” a rep for the show told Us.
Paras Griffin/Getty Images
Cocaine Confession
To celebrate her “Be Here” national campaign with The Hunter Foundation, Williams reflected upon her decade-long battle with cocaine addiction during a July 2018 interview. “I was a functioning addict,” she told Entertainment Tonight. “They wouldn’t fire me because I was making ratings. … It’s a miracle I was able to stop.”
Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Wilhelmina Models
Shoulder Fracture
The fashion designer suffered a “hair fracture on my right shoulder” in mid-December 2018, but she soldiered on. She hid her sling under her clothes on air while announcing to viewers, “I don’t need an operation, and I’m not wearing a hard cast. … The show will go on!”

Slurring Her Words
Viewers expressed concern on social media after Williams slurred her words during a December 2018 episode of her show. She acknowledged her behavior was “less than stellar” and explained that she usually tries to avoid taking pain medication. “I really do ride or die for my craft and give 200 percent,” she insisted. Her health complications proved to be too much to handle though, and she repeatedly delayed her return to the show to focus on her well-being. “The struggle of being the main centerpiece of the show, day in and out, while fighting Graves’ disease has been a real battle,” a source told Us before Williams’ March 2019 return.
Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Vulture Festival
More Hunter Cheating Rumors
As some skeptics continued to question the status of Williams and Hunter’s marriage, she addressed the speculation head-on. “I want to shout out my husband. I am still wearing my ring,” she said on TV in March 2019. “When you’ve been with somebody for 28 years, married for 25 … we know each other. He is my best friend, my lover. … I know what you’ve been saying and I know what the streets have been talking about. … I’m still very much in love with my husband.”
Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images
Sober Living House
The TV personality revealed in March 2019 that she has been staying at a sober living house and has a 24-hour coach. “When you see me come to work glammed up, right after the show I go across the street, I do my Pilates. I told you — two hours a day or [so], to take care of my body,” she told viewers. “I’ve had a struggle with cocaine in my past. I never went to a place to get the treatment. I don’t know how, except God was sitting on my shoulder and I just stopped.”
Gary Gershoff/WireImage
Baby No. 2 for Hunter?
Hunter made headlines in March 2019 after Page Six reported that Hudson gave birth to his child at Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia.
John Lamparski/WireImage
Divorce Filing
A source confirmed to Us on April 11, 2019, that Williams filed for divorce from Hunter after more than 21 years of marriage. They finalized the case the following January.
Jennifer Graylock/
Another Break
Williams announced in May 2020 that her talk show was going on hiatus again. “Recently, Wendy has been dealing with symptoms from her Graves’ disease which is causing fatigue. In consultation with her doctor and as a precautionary measure, she will be taking some time off as she continues to receive treatment,” a spokesperson from The Wendy Williams Show said in a statement to Us.
Gregory Pace/Shutterstock
Season 13 Delay
In September 2021, the host was forced to delay the start of the 13th season of her show not once, but twice. After testing positive for COVID-19, The Wendy Williams Show announced in a statement at the time that the premiere date would be moved from September 19, 2021, to October 4, 2021, to “allow Wendy time to quarantine and fully recover.” The announcement came after reports that Williams would be unable to take part in promotion of the season due to “ongoing health issues.”
At the end of the month, the show announced via Instagram that the premiere date would again be pushed back to October 18, 2021, explaining that Williams “continues to be under a doctor’s care and is still not ready to return to work.” The statement continued that her breakthrough case of coronavirus was “no longer an issue,” but she was still dealing with lingering unspecified health issues.
Further Delays
As Williams continued to recover amid ongoing health concerns, a slate of guest hosts were tapped to take her place on The Wendy Williams Show throughout November 2021.
“The Wendy Williams Show is excited to announce that actor and comedian and good friend to the show, @michaelrapaport, will be guest hosting the week of November 8th,” according to a post via the show’s official Instagram page on November 3. “The following week kicks off with an all-new hot talk panel on Monday, November 15th. Then, actor and comedian @BillBellamy will take the reins on Tuesday, November 16th and Wednesday, November 17th. Later that week, legendary talk show host @judgejerrytv and fellow daytime host @thestevewilkosshow will be filling in on Thursday, November 18th and Friday, November 19th.”
Kristina Bumphrey/StarPix/Shutterstock
Another Obstacle
In February 2022, Us confirmed that Williams won’t be returning to her talk show for the rest of season 13.
Amid the news, Williams’ bank Wells Fargo referred to her as an “incapacitated person.” According to Page Six, the bank sent a letter to New York Supreme Court Judge Arlene Bluth requesting a hearing on the basis that Williams might need guardianship to help handle her finances.
The talk show host’s attorney Celeste N. McCaw filed an emergency petition ahead of the bank’s statement, claiming Wells Fargo had denied Williams access to her assets.
Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP/Shutterstock
Addressing the Rumors
One week after announcing plans to take a “hiatus” from her talk show, Williams assured fans that she was “on the mend” in a statement from her counsel, LaShawn Thomas. “Wendy wants the world to know that she strenuously denies all allegations about her mental health and well-being,” the lawyer said in February 2022. “Wendy wants you to know she is fine; she is of sound mind … Wendy is grateful for the love and the outpouring of support she has received from her fans and she can’t want to get back.”
The statement also addressed reports that Wells Fargo has declared Williams an “incapacitated person,” claiming that the bank would not let her son — who has Power of Attorney — check in on her financial affairs. Thomas also stated that the talk show host “spoke with several bank managers” to prove she was of sound mind and alleged that Wells Fargo only raised suspicions about her wellbeing when she decided to switch to another bank.
In addition, the statement claims that all of the recent rumors about Williams’ heath are the “allegations of a former employee who is upset because she no longer has direct and unfettered access to Wendy’s financial affairs.” The TV personality once considered this person to be a “friend,” according to her counsel.
Gregory Pace/Shutterstock
‘Going Back Stronger’
“It’s just after 8 o’clock in the morning and I’m doing OK,” Williams shared via Instagram in February 2022 while describing her “peaceful” vacation in Florida. “This is a break from New York; New York is fast-paced. … I am going back stronger. At 56 years old, there are things that happen to you, I would say things usually start about 40 and they go up from there.”
Courtesy Wendy Williams/Instagram
Officially Over
In February 2022, it was announced that Williams’ show was ending after its 13th season, with Sherri Shepherd taking over in the former’s Fox daytime slot.
“We all have a great love and affinity for Wendy, who grew into a true icon during her 12 incredible seasons as the solo host of a live, daily talk show dishing on ‘Hot Topics’ and interviewing celebrities,” the copresidents of The Wendy Williams Show’s production company noted in a statement at the time. “Since Wendy is still not available to host the show as she continues on her road to recovery, we believe it is best for our fans, stations and advertising partners to start making this transition now. We hope to be able to work with Wendy again in the future, and continue to wish her a speedy and full recovery.”
Erik Pendzich/Shutterstock; Eric Charbonneau/Shutterstock
Hunter Takes Action
After Debmar-Mercury announced in February 2022 that The Wendy Williams Show would not be returning, Hunter filed a lawsuit against the show’s producer-distributor, alleging wrongful termination. Hunter was an executive producer on his ex-wife’s talk show and was fired shortly after Williams filed for divorce in April 2019. In his suit, Hunter claimed that he was axed solely on the basis of his personal relationship with Williams, alleging that he was “instrumental to the show’s success” as he “negotiated, produced, and planned most of the concepts and branding behind the show” before being fired. Hunter also argued that he was “significantly damaged reputationally, professionally and financially” by the decision. He is seeking at least $7 million in damages, interest and attorney’s fees.
Ready to Return to TV
“I’m very comfortable [with returning to work]. You know, my partners with the show, everybody’s ready,” she told Good Morning America in March 2022. “Well, give me, give me about three months. There are private things that I have to deal with and then I’ll be ready to come back and free and ready to do my thing. Keep watching because I’m going to be back on The Wendy Show, bigger and brighter than ever.”
Williams also shared a health update during the interview, noting, “[My] health is very well, and I’ve actually had a few appointments. You know, I’m 57 now, and I have the mind and body of a 25-year-old.”
Matt Baron/Shutterstock
The End of an Era
“The final original episode of The Wendy Williams Show will air on Friday, June 17th, with a video tribute to the iconic host,” a spokesperson for the show said in a statement in June 2022 following Williams’ step back from her talk show earlier in the year. “The series comes to an end after 13 successful years in syndication.”
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/Shutterstock
Checking Into a Wellness Facility
Williams has found an in-patient treatment program to treat “overall health issues.” “She is taking some time to focus on her health and wellness as she prepares for a major comeback for the next level in her career with ‘The Wendy Experience Podcast,’” a press release issued on her behalf read in September 2022. “Ms.Williams is being treated by a team of some of the best doctors in the world. We ask for your prayers and well wishes during this time.”
Gregory Pace/Shutterstock
Weight Loss Reveal
The former talk show host gave fans an update on her weight while walking to a restaurant in New York City. Williams appeared to be in a good mood and dressed for the occasion in a Louis Vuitton fur jacket with matching Louis denim shorts.
“Hey, I just went to the doctor and I got on the scale and I weigh 138!” Williams happily told photographers waiting outside. “Pretty, right?”
Felipe Ramales /
Dementia and Aphasia Diagnosis
Williams’ family revealed that the former TV personality was undergoing treatment for cognitive issues in February 2024. “I spoke with her yesterday and I speak with her very regularly when she reaches out to me,” Williams’ sister, Wanda Finnie, told People at the time. “She is, from what I understand, in a wellness, healing type of environment.”
One day later, news broke that Williams had been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia and aphasia. “As Wendy’s fans are aware, in the past, she has been open with the public about her medical struggles with Graves’ Disease and Lymphedema as well as other significant challenges related to her health,” read a press release shared with Page Six.
According to the announcement, Williams underwent several tests in 2023 after she began to “lose words” and “act erratically.” As a result of her diagnosis, Williams can “receive the medical care she requires.”
The statement ended on an uplifting note, stating, “She is appreciative of the many kind thoughts and good wishes being sent her way.”
Michael Tran/FilmMagic

By Michael

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