A “Dancing With the Stars” contestant from season 12 has entered a wellness facility.
On September 14, 2022, Page Six reported that Wendy Williams had entered rehab for substance abuse issues. However, Williams’s rep Shawn Zanotti told Heavy that Williams is “seeking help to manage her 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’. 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,” read a press release sent to Heavy by Zanotti.
The decision for Williams to go seek help comes just months after it was announced that she would no longer be hosting her long-running talk show. According to Vox, there were several setbacks on the show over the past couple of years due to some health concerns, and production company Debmar-Mercury ultimately decided to replace Williams, announcing that Sherri Shepherd would be taking over the show.
“Sherri” debuted on Monday, September 12, 2022, according to Entertainment Tonight.
Williams, who was previously diagnosed with Graves’ disease and lymphedema, according to Entertainment Weekly, has struggled with substance abuse throughout her career and while she had been sober for some time, she relapsed about two years ago, according to Page Six.
Here’s what you need to know:
Williams Has Been Candid About Her Substance Abuse Struggles
Over the years, Williams has spoken out about her addiction issues.
In July 2018, Williams opened up to Entertainment Tonight, referring to her past self as an “addict.”
“I was a functioning addict though. I would report to work on time and I walked in and all of my coworkers, and 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,” she told the outlet. At the time, Williams was sober.
Less than a year later, she revealed that she had suffered a relapse.
“Well, for some time now and even today and beyond I have been living in a sober house. … 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,” Williams told her audience in March 2019, according to the Daily Mail.
Williams Didn’t Know Her Show Was Ending
It hasn’t been an easy year for Williams. In August 2022, Entertainment Weekly reported that the former talk show host had to be told “several times” that her show was ending.
Days earlier, The Hollywood Reporter published a piece on the “final days of ‘The Wendy Williams Show'” in which her rep said that her client was “on the road to recovery.”
“It has been no secret that Wendy has battled with addiction over the years but at this time Wendy is on the road to recovery and healing herself from her chronic illnesses and her grievances of the past,” spokeswoman Shawn Zanotti told the outlet via email.
“What we do know is that Wendy has a history of chronic illness that she has publicly spoken about,” she added.
The Hollywood Reporter spoke with several people who had worked on “The Wendy Williams” show.
“Everybody on that staff and crew witnessed all kinds of things,” one person told the outlet.
“[Staffers would] find bottles [of alcohol] up in the ceiling tiles and other weird places in the office,” someone else said.
Even more recently, Williams’ ex-husband Kevin Hunter told Page Six that producers at “The Wendy Williams Show” “refused” to help Williams.
“Debmar would not support Wendy’s recovery efforts with the family. They would not sign off on anything that would’ve helped her recovery effort,” Hunter told the outlet.
“They sat in a meeting with her whole family, including her now-deceased mom, and would not sign off on the recovery efforts that would’ve helped Wendy also get well and live and be sober. They basically said, ‘If you don’t stop drinking, you’re going to lose the show,'” he further explained.