UPDATED: 9:35 a.m. ET, Sept 15, 2022
The road to redemption for Wendy Williams has begun.
Fans of the 57-year-old media maven were eagerly awaiting her return to her famous daytime talk series The Wendy Williams Show, but the former Hot 97 personality’s health has struggled to recover since contracting a breakthrough case of COVID-19 in early September, now it appears as though Wendy’s health is on the mend and she could be gearing up for a new podcast.
Williams took to her Instagram last week to announce her new podcast, The Wendy Experience, posting promotion glam shots of herself sitting on a throne with a microphone in front of her. The photo was cryptically captioned, “LOADING,” leaving fans excited for her new journey. No timetables or dates have been released around Williams’ return, but the announcement could be the beginning of a whole new career for the famed tv host and radio personality.
The Wendy Williams Show to end after 13 years on air
Sadly, officials from the radio icon’s eponymous talk show have announced that the popular series will be coming to end “after 13 successful years in syndication.”
A spokesperson from The Wendy Williams Show told PEOPLE that the final episode will air on Friday, June 17th, “with a video tribute to the iconic host.” According to Page Six, Williams won’t make an appearance during the finale. One source told the publication that producers really wanted Williams “to come back” for the show’s sign-off.
“A lot of people — especially the mid-and low-level producers — signed up for the job because of Wendy. It feels like it’s just going to end [without her]. It’s weird,” the insider shared.
Prior to the sad news, Williams had expressed optimism about returning to her coveted purple chair, more recently during an interview with Fat Joe in May.
Williams reassured the rapper and fans that she would be “coming to The Wendy Williams Show” soon and cast a bit of shade on Sherri Shepherd who is slated to take over her time slot come September.
“I won’t be watching her because I know what she’ll be doing and that’s not really my thing … you know what I’m saying?” the media titan said, before adding:
“I love being on my own show. And I love that people love to watch it, you know, all the time.”
She also briefly addressed her ongoing financial battle with Wells Fargo. The Daytime Emmy Award nominee claimed that she only had “$2 and nothing else” amid the difficult court battle.
When Joe asked the celebrity why she left the Wendy Show, Williams clarified:
“.. Somebody stopped giving me my money. Somebody stopped giving me my American Express … I have no money.”
Following the announcement, fans poured onto the shock jock’s Instagram page to share their reaction to the news.
“You made History…. They can’t take that from you,” wrote one social media user. “You simply became too powerful. #Not replaceable! We ready when you are.”
Another fan on Twitter commented:
“Wendy Williams is the blueprint for media legends. The ending of her show is unfortunate but the impact of her show is undefeated.”
Wells Fargo Froze Williams’ Assets Citing Incapacitation
On Mar. 17, during an interview with Good Morning America (GMA), Williams set the record straight about her reported health troubles and her ongoing financial battle with Wells Fargo. Over the phone, the former shock jock reassured fans that her health was “very well” and that she was “absolutely of sound mind.”
“When people want control of their accounts, they say anything, including something crazy like that about me,” Williams continued. “[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,” she laughed.
Back in February, the star became embroiled in a tough legal battle against Wells Fargo after her former financial advisor Lori Schiller told the institution that she wasn’t of “sound mind” to handle her own finances. Schiller feared the TV pioneer would become a victim of “exploitation, dementia or undue influence,” Page Six noted. The bank swiftly froze Williams’s assets, citing her as an “incapacitated person.”
However, the star’s lawyer, LaShawn Thomas, Esq fired back at the accusations, telling BOSSIP in a statement that the media all-star “strenuously” denied “all allegations about her mental health and well-being.”
“It saddens Wendy that Wells Fargo, has chosen to believe the allegations of a former employee who is upset because she no longer has direct and unfettered access to Wendy’s financial affairs,” a statement from her lawyer read.
“Wendy had to, unfortunately, bring this action because Wells Fargo has refused to honor her Power of Attorney, granting her son authority to make inquiries to the bank on Wendy’s behalf. Wendy further believes that all of the false narratives currently making the rounds derive from this source and she is saddened that she once considered this person a friend. Wendy can’t believe that Wells Fargo has wrongly denied her access to her funds without justification,” the legal counsel added.
At the time, Thomas also gave the media outlet an update on her health. “Wendy has employed holistic health professionals to help her reach optimal health during her treatment of Graves’ disease and thyroid concerns,” he explained.
The former Hot 97 radio host filed for a temporary restraining order against Wells Fargo demanding that the bank “reopen any frozen accounts or assets” and to give her “access to any and all accompanying statements,” according to court documents. The star claimed that the institution denied her access to her account “for weeks” without notice. In court filings, the famous TV host said that she suffered financial hardship “due to her inability to make payments on outstanding debts and other financial obligations.” A report published by PEOPLE alleged that the Hot Topics icon was “prohibited from accessing several million dollars.”
During her candid chat with GMA on Thursday, Wendy pled for the institution to release her funds.
“They say that I need somebody to handle my account and I don’t want that,” Williams told viewers. “I want all my money. I want to see all my money that I’ve worked hard for my entire life. My entire life. I don’t lie, I don’t cheat and I don’t steal. I am an honest, hard-working person…I want to spend more time with my family and, you know, working out and waiting for the responses to my money situation [with] Wells Fargo. And they don’t like that,” she added.
Wendy Says She’ll Be “Back” and “Brighter Than Ever”
Despite her challenging setbacks, Williams promised viewers that she would return back to her popular daytime talk show series in tip-top shape.
“I’m very comfortable. You know, my partners with the show — everybody’s ready,” she told GMA during the interview. “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 be free and ready to do my thing.”
Towards the end of the segment, Williams sent a message to her fans worldwide.
“Keep watching. I’m going to be back on the Wendy show. Bigger and brighter than ever,” she declared.
Wendy has been slowly creeping her way back to the public eye. On Feb. 17, the star returned to social media with her new Instagram account @therealwendywilliamsonline.
In a five-minute-long video, Williams and her son, Kevin Hunter Jr., had a heart-to-heart while walking along a beach in Florida. The two discussed everything from her daily routine to the death of her mother, Shirley Williams, who passed away in December 2020.
“New York is fast-paced, which I love,” the Ask Wendy author continued. “I love [it] here in Florida as much as I do New York, but they are two very different things and people. But New York is my heart, and Florida is a beautiful place — beautiful, regular. Sometimes weird in a good way. Aren’t we all, weird in a good way?”
Later on in the clip, Kevin Jr. asked his mother to clear up the rumors regarding her diminishing mental health state.
“I am going back stronger. At 56 years old, there are things that happen to people,” Williams explained, although she turned 57 in July. “I would say things usually start about 40 and they go up from there, you know?” she continued. “So you’ve got to eat the right food.”
The star added:
“I want to be all I can be and then get back to New York and get on down to The Wendy Williams Show.”
Sherri Shepherd To Take Over Wendy’s Daytime Talk Show Slot
During Williams’ long hiatus, a slew of stars have been tapped to guest host The Wendy Williams Show including Fat Joe and Remy Ma in addition to actors Michael Rapaport and Bill Bellamy, but The View’s Sherri Shepherd has become a fan favorite among viewers. Now, the comedian and actress will take over the media icon’s daytime talk show slot with her very own series, reportedly titled, Sherri.
The Wendy Williams Show’s production company Debmar-Mercury released a statement about the move on Feb. 22.
“Like our viewers, we have been impressed by the unique comedic twist Sherri puts on our daily live ‘Hot Topics’ segment, her creativity and interactions with our guests,” Debmar-Mercury co-presidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein said in a statement. “Her love for the content and daytime fans is obvious, and we are excited to partner with her to create another long-term talk franchise.”
“This is also a bitter-sweet moment for us and our partners at FOX,” the company continued. “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.”
“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,” the partners added.
Sherri is slated to hit TV in September 2022, but the decision is subject to change depending on Williams’s health, according to the star’s rep, Howard Bragman.
“She understands why this decision was made from a business point of view,” they said in a statement. “She has been assured by Debmar-Mercury that should her health get to a point where she can host again and should her desire be that she hosts again that she would be back on TV at that time.”
Wendy Gives A Health Update
The season 13 premiere of The Wendy Williams Show was delayed a number of times because of the star’s ongoing health troubles. Wendy was originally set to kick off the debut of the show’s new season on Oct. 4, but plans were delayed in order for the star to seek treatment for her “ongoing medical issues,” a statement from her Wendy Show social media account claimed. The New Jersey native’s debut was then scheduled for Oct. 18, but days later, another statement on behalf of the gossipy commentator was released noting that the star would be further delaying her return because of “serious complications stemming from her battle with “Graves Disease and her thyroid condition.” Graves Disease leads to the overproduction of thyroid hormones and can cause wide-ranging symptoms drastically affecting overall health.
A number of guest hosts have been tapped to cover for the “Ask Wendy” author during her long hiatus including comedian Whitney Cummings and The View’s Sherri Shepherd, who held down hosting on more than one occasion. However, fans continue to speculate when and if Williams will ever make it back to her coveted purple chair. In recent months, a slew of rumors and stories have surfaced about the revered talk show host’s waning health woes.
Wendy’s Wheel Chair & Dementia Allegations
Reports surfaced earlier this week that Williams’ health was beginning to decline significantly after The Rickey Smiley Morning Show’s Toine The Don, also known as Antoine Edwards, shared a startling update about the mother of one’s condition.
“It is being reported that the 57-year-old talk show host has completely lost all blood circulation in her legs and in her feet,” Toine said during a Nov. 22 episode of the nationally syndicated radio show. The pop culture news reporter also received word that Wendy had been suffering from the early stages of dementia. On his Instagram page, Toine noted that the entertainment group Lionsgate “had Wendy stored away under lock key to prevent another boozed and vodka-filled depression.”
However, her younger brother Tommy struck down the show’s claims during an interview with The Sun. Tommy, a burgeoning Youtube personality, told the outlet that Wendy was not “displaying that type of behavior to the family,” and that they “haven’t had any alerts like that and I haven’t seen anything like that or have had conversations with her that would lead me to believe that.”
“We routinely go up and check on Wendy even though we’re all down here in Florida,” he added. “I try to make it up there and my dad speaks with Wendy frequently. So no, we don’t have any concerns concerning her mental state. It’s all physical.”
Some Staffers Accuse Williams Of Binge Drinking & Drug Use
The Hunter Foundation founder has been open about her struggles with cocaine addiction in the past. On a May 2019 episode of The Wendy Williams Show, Wendy revealed that she had been living in a sober house to seek treatment.
Williams said that every day after filming her show in New York City that she would attend various meetings with other individuals struggling with addiction around the tri-state area. She would then be driven to the sober house by her 24-hour sober coach. A tearful Wendy told viewers live on air that she had no clue how she was able to kick her addiction.
“God was just sitting on my shoulder and I just stopped,” she said at the time.
Some staffers on set accused Williams of binge drinking. Sources close to the show’s production revealed the shocking news in a separate interview with The Sun back in September.
“Wendy was drinking every day, even while filming the show,” one insider said. Other members on set claimed that they could smell the liquor on her. Several sources shared that the popular daytime host appeared to be “wheelchair-bound and bruised” when she came on set in early September noting that she was “stressed” and “lonely.”
From Radio Host To The “Queen of All Media”
Williams, who has been dubbed “The Queen Of All Media,” graduated from Northeastern University in 1986 with a degree in communications and a minor in journalism. She landed her first job as an on-air host in the Virgin Islands making a measly $3.75 an hour, according to Women’s Health. Upon her return to New York City in the late 80s, Wendy grew notoriety as a shock jockette on Emmis Communication’s number 1 hip-hop and R&B station Hot 97. Millions of listeners tuned in to listen to her firey on-air spats with big celebs and off-the-cuff pop news stories, but she later left the station in 1998 after making a few star-studded enemies, The Washington Post noted. In 2006, her famous radio show became the subject of the reality TV series The Wendy Williams Experience on VH1. Williams was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2009.
Reports say the star’s net worth is estimated at $40 million. The whopping number includes the money she rakes in from The Wendy Williams Show, which In Talk Daily reported was around $10,000 a year. Wendy has also made a chunk of cash from her bestselling books over the years including 2014’s “Ask Wendy” and 2004’s “Wendy’s Got The Heat.”
Her Difficult Divorce From Ex-Husband Kevin Hunter
Wendy and her ex-husband have had a difficult and complicated relationship that some have attributed to the cause of her declining health.
Williams jumped the broom with Hunter in 1997 but later filed for divorce in 2019. Hunter, who worked closely with Williams as an executive producer on The Wendy Williams Show, allegedly cheated on the media titan during their 22-year-long marriage. Their relationship came to a boiling point after Hunter’s mistress, Sharina Hudson, gave birth to their daughter in 2019.
The no-holds-barred TV host said she knew her former husband was “a serial cheat” for years.
“We were married for almost 22 years. We were together for 25 years,” she told listeners on The Jess Cagle Show. “I don’t regret the day of meeting him. I don’t regret putting up with him for all 25 years.”Wendy continued, “And that has nothing to do with him having this baby or him having this side girl for almost 15 years of our marriage. I’ve known about her almost since the beginning. I’ve known that Kevin is a serial cheat.” The former couple shares a son named Kevin Hunter Jr.A source claimed that Wendy was deeply jealous because of Hunter’s newfound relationship with Hudson, whom he recently proposed to back in October. The two reportedly moved in together to raise their two-year-old daughter.“He’s happy and that’s a tough pill for Wendy to swallow, especially since she hasn’t found someone yet,” the confidante said, according to Bossip. “It’s tough being Wendy and dating in such a bright spotlight. She is having a hard time. Meanwhile, Kevin has always been so private. Which is the complete opposite of Wendy who gossips publicly for a living.”