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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

What happened to Wendy Williams?

Wendy+Williams%E2%80%99+talk+show+ended+after+more+than+14+years+because+of+her+health+struggles.+
celebrityabc/flickr
Wendy Williams’ talk show ended after more than 14 years because of her health struggles.

For more than 14 years, Wendy Williams echoed the phrase “How you doin’” countless times throughout living rooms to announce her iconic talk show, “The Wendy Williams Show.”

Now, fans may never hear the same high-spirited Williams. The host was diagnosed with dementia in 2023, but her care team only released this information on Feb. 22.

Her talk show ended two years ago, but a new Lifetime documentary has spurred rumors about the popular media personality’s health.

The four-episode documentary series shows the behind-the-scenes of Williams’ life, including her struggles with Grave’s disease, hyperthyroidism, lymphedema, primary progressive aphasia and frontotemporal dementia.

These illnesses have caused Williams to forget names and places, struggle to communicate her thoughts and understand language. When the main purpose of her talk show is to do these things, Williams’ health complications would’ve made continuing on very difficult.

Williams also battles with alcohol abuse. This has created tension within her family, with disputes regularly occurring in the show because Williams wants to continue drinking while her family wants her to move to Florida with them and be sober.

The documentary shows a very vulnerable side of Williams that at some points raised the question of whether or not it should’ve been aired. For example, Williams is shown yelling at the woman doing her nails and arguing with her manager, Will Selby.

In the documentary, Williams is also seen forgetting where the smoke shop is right next to her former talk show studio and getting angry when the store doesn’t have the correct vape pen. This moment helps the audience understand her condition more, but it is depressing to see someone in such a weak state.

In 2022, Williams was placed under a temporary financial guardian, attorney Sabrina Morrisey — a stranger to Williams — by the court after her bank froze her account. The bank is investigating whether or not there was financial exploitation in the charges made on her card.

According to the documentary, members of her family such as her sister and son wanted to be her guardian instead, but they claim the court would not allow them.

This guardianship controls where Williams can go because she does not have access to all her money. Williams has even taken to selling her personal items.

Morrisey filed a lawsuit to prevent the documentary from being aired, claiming it exploited Williams and portrays her in a demeaning manner, but it was eventually overturned by the New York County Supreme Court.

Although I can see how this documentary brings awareness to mental and physical health, I don’t think filming Williams upset in her bedroom for all those hours was necessary. It does clear up a lot of what people have been questioning about Williams recently, but I think it’s just too much. Williams is also likely not in the right headspace to be fully consenting to what is being shown in the episodes.

Williams’ management team is also pushing her toward the spotlight prematurely, as seen in the documentary. Her publicist, Shawn Zanotti, encourages her to go to a meeting to try to get another talk show and Selby is seen attempting to start a podcast with Williams. The podcast currently does have a website, but there are no available episodes, only merchandise. Williams craves the fame and attention from being a talk show host and wants to get back into it, but it is very clear from the documentary that she is not ready.

On TikTok, clips about her condition and the documentary have been going viral. Some people have claimed this is her karma and she is an awful person. No matter what Williams has gossiped about on her talk show, that does not give people an excuse to wish illness upon her.

Williams’ determination to be successful is something that I really admire. From a young age, she knew she wanted to interview people. Because her talk show connected to so many people over the world for years, Williams has a large following. The audience on her talk show was always engaged and excited to see her on stage. She truly appreciates her fans, and will frequently take photos with them and talk to them.

She paved the way for other female daytime talk show hosts and proved she could have a long-standing career. She shows women that they can achieve their dreams and be the star of their own show. She isn’t afraid to tell her audience how she feels or what her life is like, which is what makes her so unique from other celebrities.

As much as I would love to see Williams happy doing another talk show, I think it is for the best that she lets her reputation as a host stay as is. She should spend more time with her family and work on taking care of herself. If she tries to do another show in her current state, I don’t see it ending well.

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Krystal Miller, Associate Arts & Life Editor

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  • J

    JudyMar 20, 2024 at 1:34 pm

    I’ve been watching this latest documentary this week. I felt like a voyeur watching the tragic story of someone declining rapidly. It definitely showed questionable decisions made on behalf of and by Wendy. The best thing to happen was when she was admitted to a rehab center for an extended period of time. I have no opinion about the family, as they appeared to honestly care about her health and well-being, but money corrupts on many levels. One thing I do know, New York City is not proving to be a healthy place for her. I pray for her and wish her happiness and peace in her life.

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  • D

    Dorothy TerryMar 20, 2024 at 11:29 am

    Our thoughts and prayers are with Wendy and her family and caregivers loop

    Reply
  • A

    AidaMar 20, 2024 at 4:52 am

    We are with you.l pray that god gives strength to deal. Such terrible disease.the prays for wendy we love you.its very for the doctors not to respond because that creates more pain. In cases like this it just doesn’t make no sense. When nothing can be done.

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