A Look Back at Wendy Williams’ Recent Struggles

Wendy Williams has held the hearts of primetime TV viewers for many years. Recently, the former TV show host has faced ongoing battles pertaining to her health, relationship, and finances. Here is a timeline of Williams' recent struggles as fans gear up for her anticipated Lifetime documentary, 'Where Is Wendy Williams?'

Wendy Williams in a high-neck, star-patterned outfit
Michael Tran / FilmMagic
Wendy Williams in a high-neck, star-patterned outfit

Wendy Williams has held the audience’s attention for decades with her candid personality. Best known as the TV host of the self-titled show The Wendy Williams Show, she has earned widespread fame. Williams’ unfiltered approach gained fans’ loyalty and viral moments, particularly during her renowned “Hot Topic” segment, where she digs at a slew of celebrities and their drama. 

However, Williams’ journey behind the glitz and glamor has been far from smooth. Struggling with cocaine addiction and health problems, she has faced numerous challenges. Over the years, Williams’ syndicated show faced major setbacks and was ultimately cut from Fox’s lineup after 13 seasons. The decision to cancel the primetime talk show came after William took multiple hiatuses to tend to her health as she battles with hyperthyroidism and Graves’ disease. 

On top of her health struggles, Williams dealt with a high-profile split from her ex-husband, Kevin Hunter. Media headlines were fueled by news of his affair with his long-term mistress, Sharina Hudson. Williams and Hunter officially divorced in 2019. 

As Williams continues to prioritize her health, she is offering fans an inside look into her life over the past two years. In her highly anticipated documentary, Where Is Wendy Williams?, the former host gets candid about her health journey, financial challenges, and various facets of her life.

In the trailer, Williams admits to her financial struggles, saying, “I have no money. And let me tell you something: If it happens to me, it can happen to you,” as she breaks down.

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The emotional trailer also featured a triggering scene showing Williams’ producers checking on her after she drank a whole bottle of liquor. The implication is that she had consumed the entire thing in one day. In doing so, their actions visibly agitated her, prompting an attitude with them as she told the producer to “keep it there.” 

The Lifetime program is scheduled to premiere during a two-night event, Feb. 24 and Feb. 25. In the meantime, we have crafted a timeline of Williams’ recent struggles leading up to the documentary. 

Williams’ husband was accused of a long-term affair 

Three people posing for a photo, two men flanking a woman, all smiling at an event. The central figure wearing a V-neck top

Date: September 2017

 Williams’ marriage exploded in 2017 after the Daily Mail reported that Williams’ husband had been having a long-term affair. The outlet obtained photos of Hunter with his mistress, Sharina Hudson, in New Jersey. During that time, Williams’ spokesperson denied the allegations. 

According to the outlet, Hunter has been seeing Husson for 10 years and bought a $765,000 house 9 miles from Williams' home, which they share. The outlet photographed Hudson wearing a ring on her fourth finger, unsure of Williams’ stance on the matter. A source told Daily Mail that Hunter is with Hudson on a consistent basis and acts like a “normal” couple together. 

Williams passed out on national television

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Date: October 2017

Shortly after, Williams passed out on national television, causing a moment of panic as producers rushed to her side. After the screen cut to black, Williams appeared back on set, assuring her audience, saying, “That was not a stunt. I overheated in costume, and I passed out,” referring to her Statue of Liberty Halloween costume.

She later appeared on Good Morning America, addressing the scary moment. “I am a woman of a particular age, and I am also going through menopause,” she said. “My costume was hot when I first tried it on.”

She added, “Apparently, I was dehydrated, according to the paramedics.” Williams elaborated that she went to her personal doctors, where she conducted blood work. She insinuated that everything came back fine, shutting down illness rumors.

Williams announced a health diagnosis 

Talk show host interviews a female guest wearing a sparkling suit; both seated

Date: February 2018

 Williams took a three-week hiatus from the The Wendy Williams Show as she attended to her health. Just one week after taking three days off for flu-like symptoms, the TV host announced that her doctor prescribed that she rest due to her chronic battle with hyperthyroidism and Graves’ disease.

A spokesperson on Willams’ behalf stated, “Wendy is a true champion and has never missed a day of work. But her health and well-being must be put before all else,” per US Weekly. “Wendy has been openly dealing with her Graves’ disease for many years in addition to hyperthyroidism. Yesterday, Wendy’s doctor prescribed a necessary three weeks of rest to get her levels and medication in sync. The show will be in repeats during this unplanned hiatus.”

Williams reveals decade-long drug addiction

Wendy Williams in a radio studio, wearing headphones, speaking into a mic, styled in a striped garment

Date: December 2018

During an interview with ET, Williams discussed her battle with cocaine and how she overcame it. She said working in a demanding career field and a high-profile lifestyle led her to addiction. “I was a functioning addict though,” she admitted. “I would report to work on time and I walked in and all of my coworkers, including my bosses, would know but instead of firing me, you see, I would grab my headphones and arrogantly walk into the studio and dare them fire me because I was making ratings.” 

“It was a miracle I was able to stop,” Williams added. 

Nick Cannon takes over as TV host as Williams recover

Man in orange hoodie and headphones smiling during a podcast recording session

Date: January 2019

The Masked Singer host was announced as a temporary host for the daytime talk show in January as Williams recovered from a hairline shoulder fracture. 

Williams’ family released a statement regarding health as she announced she is dealing with complications from Graves’ disease in addition to her shoulder injury. “As Wendy Williams Hunter previously shared, she fractured her shoulder and has been on the mend. Over the past few days, Wendy has experienced complications regarding her Graves’ Disease that will require treatment,” the statement read, per iHeart. “Wendy will be under the strict supervision of her physicians, and as part of her care, there will be significant time spent in the hospital.” 

Wendy addresses cheating rumors

Wendy Williams smiling at a New York Women in Film & Television event, short-sleeved black dress

Date: March 2019 

After months of speculation surrounding Hunter’s infidelity, Williams spoke on the matter upon her return to daytime television. “I want to shout out to my husband. I am still wearing my ring,” Williams applauded, shutting down divorce rumors. “Believe me, when you’ve been with somebody for 28 years, married for 25 years…we know each other. He is my best friend, he’s my lover, he’s all this, and he’s all that.”

She added, “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.”

Williams noted that their relationship faced hardships throughout the years. “Anybody who has been married for five minutes or 500 years, you know, marriages have ebbs and flows. Marriages are not easy. And don’t ask me about mine until you see [my wedding ring] gone — it ain’t going anywhere, not in this lifetime.”

Williams reveals that she is staying in a sober house

Wendy Williams in a star-patterned outfit is smiling

Date: March 2019

Later in the month, Williams revealed to her show’s audience that she had chosen to stay at a sober house to support her sobriety. 

“Well, for some time now, and even today and beyond, I have been living in a sober house,” she admitted, per The Hollywood Reporter. “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, I like to take care of my body.”

Williams added, “And you know 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.”

The star explained that she entered a sober house to learn more about addiction. She emphasized that the environment has no claim to fame and instead sits with individuals dealing with addiction, who have become family-like to her.

Williams expressed her dedication by attending “several meetings” in the New York area, per US Weekly. A source told the outlet that the TV host is “100 percent committed,” meeting with her sober coach on a daily basis. The source added that Williams is “focused on taking back control of her life,” describing her as a “work in progress.”

Hunter’s cheating allegations continue

Wendy Williams and guests smiling and taking a selfie at a social event

Date: March 2019

PageSix reported that Hunter’s mistress gave birth to a baby girl in March. Sources speculate that Hunter is the father of the child, but that has not been confirmed. An insider told Page Six that Hudson gave birth to a baby at Hahnemann University Hospital in Philly. “[Husdon] chose this location because they were worried that if she gave birth in New York, it would be leaked to the press,” the source said. 

Williams files for divorce from Hunter

Wendy Williams posing in a pastel blazer over a patterned blouse

Date: April 2019

Two years after reports emerged about Hunter’s affair with Hudson, Williams is now moving forward to end her 22-year marriage. TMZ sources revealed that papers were served to Hunter while he was in the studio. Wendy filed for divorce based on “irreconcilable differences” after a “breakdown” of the marriage over a six-month period, according to documentation obtained by the outlet. 

This development comes after recent allegations reporting that Hunter fathered a child with Hudson last month. 

Williams and Hunter’s divorce is finalized

Two individuals posing together, one in a studded beige dress, the other in a blue suit and sunglasses

Date: Jan 2020

TMZ reported that Williams and Hunter are officially divorced. The outlet obtained legal documents that stated the two finalized shared estates and profits. 

A day later, Williams appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon as she spoke on her divorce proceedings. “I do want to ask you though: Are you divorced?” questioned the Fallon. “After nine months, yes, I am fully divorced,” Williams confirmed. “A door is closed in old life. The new chapter has been so lovely.”

She then thanked Fallon for asking the question that had been on everyone’s mind. “Thank you. Because people tip-toe around that. I don’t feel like I’m intimidating, but people are so scared. But you and I have known each other for a long time.”

Williams continued: “I’m not mad, you know. It was 25 years I don’t regret. But you know what, sometimes people move on with their lives. And I have to tell you something, I’m now — I no longer live in Jersey. It is Wendy in the city.”

.@WendyWilliams shares some personal news with Jimmy tonight on #FallonTonight pic.twitter.com/dzC4w8tJAP

— The Tonight Show (@FallonTonight) January 24, 2020
Twitter: @FallonTonight

Williams goes on another hiatus

Wendy Williams seated in a studio, wearing a red blazer and black top, with a show logo in the background

Date: May 2020 

Williams announced that her show will once again go on hiatus as she continues to deal with Graves’ disease symptoms. “Wendy has been dealing with symptoms from Graves’ disease, which is causing fatigue,” said a spokesperson on her behalf, per People. “In consultation with her doctor and as a precautionary measure, she will be taking some time off as she continues to receive treatment.” 

The spokesperson said that they are looking forward to “welcoming Wendy back soon” to continue the Wendy@Home shows. 

Wendy Williams: The Movie releases on Lifetime

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Date: January 2021

Lifetime premiered a biopic, Wendy Williams: The Movie, that depicted Williams’ journey from a New York–based radio host to talk show legend. The synopsis, per IMDb, describes the films as “the highs and lows Wendy (Ciera Payton) has experienced throughout the years, from her scrappy upstart days in urban radio to the success of her own syndicated talk show.” 

Williams spearheaded the film as she was named as an executive producer alongside Will Packer. 

Season 13 of The Wendy Williams Show faces delay 

Person smiling in a high-neck, star-patterned outfit with sheer sleeves

Date: September 2021

Heading into its thirteenth season, The Wendy Williams Show faced delays. Before the show premiered, William contracted COVID-19 in addition to her pre-existing health condition. During her recovery, the show continued without her. The self-titled program featured numerous special guest appearances to fill her spot for the time being. 

Unfortunately, Williams never came back for the thirteenth season.

The Wendy Williams Show was canceled and replaced by Sherri

A celebrity seated on a talk show set, wearing a pink dress with a square neckline

Date: February 2022

After numerous setbacks, The Wendy Williams Show has been canceled. The decision to end the show was due to Williams’ ongoing health struggles with Graves’ disease, which ultimately affected the show’s production. 

Deadline announced that Sherri Shepherd will officially take the show’s timeslot. The former View member will receive her own talk show titled Sherri. 

The final episode of Williams’ show aired June 17, 2022, which was accompanied by a tribute to the iconic host. 

Financial guardianship of Williams requested by Wells Fargo

Woman in fur coat and green handbag stepping out of vehicle at night

Date: May 2022

Wells Fargo filed for guardianship of Williams. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the action stemmed from a request by Williams to check her bank statements. The star wanted to switch banks and asked to obtain her recent statements to complete the action. 

Unfortunately, Wells Fargo denied the request and filed for guardianship, deeming Williams as “incapacitated” and a “victim of undue influence and financial exploitation.”

Upon freezing her accounts, Williams and her legal team denied the allegation. Her attorney addressed the matter, saying, “On behalf of Wendy Hunter, professionally known as Wendy Williams, as counsel to her and her affairs, Wendy wants the world to know that she strenuously denies all allegations about her mental health and well-being,” Williams’ attorney, LaShawn Thomas, said, per Variety. “During this hiatus from the show, Wendy has employed holistic health professionals to help her reach optimal health during her treatment of Graves’ disease and thyroid concerns.”

Williams explained that the bank denied several requests to move over $7 million after submitting multiple requests and in-person meetings. 

Wendy Williams’ podcast was canceled before it began

Date: March 2023

In 2022, Williams announced her new podcast, The Wendy Experience. Fans were excited for the former TV host to return to her roots as she would share her popular hot takes on celebrity drama. Williams announced the news via Instagram with a snippet video of herself behind a laptop. “Doing A Show, Not a TV Show Sorry, it is a WENDY EXPERIENCE!” she captioned the post.

But after months of no updates, The Sun reported that Williams’ new venture will not see the light of day. The outlet’s source alleged that Williams told her friends that “there is no podcast.”

The source added, “It’s strange because she is saying there is no podcast, but is also telling people she’s going to return to TV. It’s hard to figure out what is based in reality.” 

Williams’ Lifetime documentary trailer releases

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Date: January 2024

 Lifetime released an emotional trailer for Williams’ highly anticipated documentary, Where Is Wendy Williams? The film follows the former host’s whereabouts two years after her exit from The Wendy Williams Show in 2021. 

The documentary is set to premiere on Lifetime over two nights, Feb. 24 and Feb. 25. According to a Lifetime press release, as reported by Deadline, that film opens “the doors to her private life like never before, cameras chronicled her comeback journey to reclaim her life and legacy despite facing health issues and personal turbulence.” 

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