Wendy Williams is down in Florida with son Kevin Hunter, Jr. focusing on her recovery, but those close to Wendy in NYC are reportedly concerned for her wellbeing.
via Page Six:
“Wendy is missing her medical appointments down in Florida,” claimed a longtime friend. “People are very worried about Wendy and her wellbeing … We want to get Wendy back to New York City to get her back on track.”
Williams, who, according to Forbes, was on a contract of $15 million a year, is believed to have hired attorney LaShawn Thomas in her fight against Wells Fargo. The bank has frozen her assets and claimed that she is an “incapacitated person” who needs a guardianship.
In court documents, signed in Williams’ name, the former host strenuously denied the allegations and earlier this month filed an affidavit in New York Supreme Court for a temporary restraining order against Wells Fargo. She insisted that a financial adviser Lori Schiller, who alleged that the star was of “unsound mind,” is a “disgruntled” former employee. Thomas and Wells Fargo both declined to comment.
“A lot of people are concerned about Wendy right now, but it seems like things are getting worse,” a show insider told The Post, citing how Sherri Shepard went from being Williams’ permanent guest host to taking her time slot. “Wendy is pissed right now. You have to understand her talk show was pretty much all she had. It was her passion, so now what?”
Sources told The Post there are two camps battling for the right to help Williams. In one corner is her longtime publicist, Howard Bragman, and manager Bernie Young, along with her longtime New York doctors and attorneys.
In the other corner is Thomas and Williams’ purported new publicist, Shawn Zanotti — both of whom have worked with Williams’ ex-husband, Hunter.
After Bragman put out a statement on Williams’ behalf in the week, a reply popped up on her Instagram account, presented as if it was from Wendy herself: “Mr. Bragman although I appreciate your concerns and respect you immensely I have not authorized you to make any statements on my behalf.”
Bragman told People magazine that he was not sure if Williams had penned the message herself.
“The statement that was put out by the guy Howard was not in the best interest of Wendy. You wouldn’t refer to your client’s show as the ‘Maybe Wendy Show,’ which was shade directed towards Wendy,” Zanotti told The Post. “To further go on to question the validity of her verified IG page, is even more proof that this was not in the best interest of Wendy — knowing he hasn’t spoken to her.”
She continued, “He is attempting to insert himself into the conversation for his own recognition. I never release her statement without Wendy approving it first. I am giving you my personal opinion right now — her focus at this time is on her health and the case … The focus right now should not be on the public shaming of Wendy Williams or the production company making a decision from ‘a business point of view,’ it should be on uplifting her while she is going through a very human experience.
“So, please send prayers and positivity to Wendy and her legal team who have bigger fish to fry!”
Williams last hosted her daytime talk show in July 2021 and was due to return in October. However, a series of guest hosts were brought in while she worked with “holistic health professionals to help her reach optimal health during her treatment of Graves’ disease and thyroid concerns,” Zanotti has said.
Williams first sparked fears for her health in 2017 when she passed out on air while dressed as the Statue of Liberty for a Halloween episode. Williams blamed it on menopause: “I’m a 53-year-old, middle-aged woman going through what middle-aged women go through, if you know what I mean…The costume got hot. All the sudden right before passing out, I felt like I was in the middle of a campfire.
“No, I wasn’t stroking out,” she insisted. “Nope, I’m here for a long time.”
A former senior staffer at “The Wendy Williams Show” told The Post how producers were left panicking when Williams slurred on air in 2018. The host later took to social media to apologize, saying the slurring could be attributed to pain medication she was taking for a fractured shoulder that “hurt like hell,” as well as Graves’ disease. The condition, which results in an overproduction of thyroid hormones, can cause tremors, heat sensitivity and anxiety.
Then, in 2019, Williams — who has previously admitted that she began abusing cocaine while working in radio beginning in the 1980s — revealed that she was living in a sober house as she battled addiction. That same year, she filed for divorce from her husband of 20 years after it was revealed that Hunter had fathered a baby girl with his alleged mistress Sharina Hudson.
Hunter left the show, where he was executive producer. But a former senior staffer at “The Wendy Williams Show” told The Post that, in fact, it was Hunter who had kept a close eye over Williams — for better or worse.
“Kevin handled it all. A lot of people would probably agree that Wendy is not very good with details, but … it’s just her nature, as for all these years Kevin handled all the details so she didn’t have to,” the staffer, who worked closely with Williams, said.
“I’m not her doctor, but anybody working around her knows that she’s very capable and she personally signs checks. She has a business and she has to pay bills and meet payroll,” the staffer added.
The staffer said that Hunter was Williams’ de-facto gatekeeper, adding: “I remember not having full access to Wendy when Kevin was around. She had her hair and makeup and wardrobe in her office and the door was always closed and it was restricted to who could get to her.”
Another source who knows Hunter and Williams described him as a “tyrant who ruled by fear, who often kept important information from Wendy herself. He would overrule big bookings out of petty jealousy and never tell Wendy about it. Many people celebrated the day he left the set.”
But, the staffer said, Hunter could also be seen as having protected the host.
“Maybe Kevin was not exactly the bad guy. He kept things in order. He kept away the so called friends and hangers-on,” the staffer said. “With him gone, people were able to get close to her who should not have.”
The staffer alleges that once, while Williams was living in the sober house in Queens, the host ordered an Uber and went home to Livingston, NJ. She was missing for about an hour before anyone realized where she was, the staffer said.
“Wendy went to a liquor store on the way and she was apparently totally drunk when Kevin found her,” the staffer claimed. “It makes sense as this was a tough time for her.”
As Page Six reported at the time, a drunken Williams was found after leaving the sober house — and hours after Hudson had given birth — and taken to a hospital.
A lot of Williams’ anguish goes back to her marriage split, those who know her said.
In January, she told SiriusXM’s “The Jess Cagle Show” that her ex, Hunter, was a “serial” cheater and claimed she knew about his affairs “almost since the beginning” of their relationship.
“The more successful I got and he got, and we believed in each other, the more of a jerk he became — he used his good credit to purchase property that he chose to wine and dine his extramarital affairs … This girl wasn’t the only one,” she said of Hudson, who gave birth to daughter Journey in 2019. “She just happens to be the one who kept his baby.”
Hunter has not publicly acknowledged engaging in affairs or fathering a child outside of wedlock, but broke his silence in a statement after Williams’ divorce filing, admitting he was “not proud” of his actions. “I am going through a time of self-reflection and am trying to right some wrongs,” he said at the time, adding that he would continue to “fully support” Williams.
The staffer claimed that, during the end of their marriage, Williams would leave the television studio and go home to clean while Hunter was away with his mistress.
“She was alone a lot of the time,” said the staffer. “After she had fractured her shoulder [in 2018] and the show where she was slurring her words, she was on medication, she was drinking. It was easy for her to drink to deal with the pain of knowing that her husband was with another woman.”
Williams finally had to pay Hunter to leave their production company. Asked whether Williams will get her full year’s salary, even though she did not appear on show, a rep declined to comment.
Announcing Williams’ departure, Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein, the co-presidents of the Debmar-Mercury syndication company, said they had great love for her. “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,” they said in a statement. “We hope to be able to work with Wendy again in the future, and continue to wish her a speedy and full recovery.”
The staffer said that Williams also suffers from lymphedema, which affects the circulation in her ankles and causes a build-up of fluid, and may explain why the host was seenbeing pushed in a wheelchair last November.
“I don’t know how Wendy will handle not having the show. It’s so sad,” the staffer added. “The frustrating thing is that Wendy has successfully transferred mediums from iconic radio host to TV — not even Howard Stern has done that. Wendy changed daytime TV … she’s going to leave a big hole.
“I think a lot of people would agree that Wendy could go off for a year … and if she gets another show, that would be her greatest comeback.”
Everyone is out here speaking for Wendy except for Wendy herself — and that’s concerning. We wish her the best and hope she has the right people around her.
Update: Wendy’s publicist Shawn Zanotti’s full statement can be read below.
“The statement that was put out by the guy Howard was not in the best interest of Wendy. You wouldn’t refer to your client’s show as the “Maybe Wendy Show”, which was shade directed towards Wendy. To further go on to question the validity of her verified IG page, is even more proof that this was not in the best interest of Wendy–knowing he hasn’t spoken to her. His social media post response is additional evidence that he hasn’t had any recent communication with her by saying,”so WHEN my old friend Wendy Facetime’s me personally.” It comes off as a bullying tactic and a forced response just to be a part of the conversation which shows it’s more about him than about Wendy. Howard initially released a statement saying it was on Wendy’s behalf, but following the release, LaShawn sent a demand letter for a retraction of said statement due to the fact he was not given permission to release anything or to speak on her behalf. He then issued a statement on Debmar-Mercury’s behalf using the EXACT same verbiage. He is attempting to insert himself into the conversation for his own recognition. I never release her statement without Wendy approving it first. I am giving you my personal opinion right now–her focus at this time is on her health and the case. Also, Wendy fired Bernie and LaShawn had nothing to do with the termination. Wendy told LaShawn about it AFTER she fired him. The focus right now should not be on the public shaming of Wendy Williams or the production company making a decision from “a business point of view”, it should be on uplifting her while she is going through a very human experience. So, please send prayers and positivity to Wendy and her legal team who have bigger fish to fry!”