Advertisement

Wendy Williams diagnosed with aphasia and dementia

Former talk show host Wendy Williams has been diagnosed with progressive aphasia and frontotemporal dementia, according to representatives for Williams.

The news was shared in a press release on Thursday to “correct inaccurate and hurtful rumors about her health,” a care team for Williams wrote in a statement.

“As Wendy’s fans are aware, in the past she has been open with the public about her medical struggles with Graves’ Disease and Lymphedema as well as other significant challenges related to her health,” the press release states. “Over the past few years, questions have been raised at times about Wendy’s ability to process information and many have speculated about Wendy’s condition, particularly when she began to lose words, act erratically at times, and have difficulty understanding financial transactions.”

Williams received her aphasia and dementia diagnoses in 2023 from Weill Cornell Medicine, according to her representatives.

The condition impacts communication, personality and the ability to understand language, according to the Mayo Clinic.

“The decision to share this news was difficult and made after careful consideration, not only to advocate for understanding and compassion for Wendy, but to raise awareness about aphasia and frontotemporal dementia.”

CNN has contacted Williams’ care team for further comment.

Williams is currently under a court-ordered guardianship. A Lifetime documentary about and produced by Williams with the participation of her family is set to release this weekend.

CNN has reached out to Williams’ family and Lifetime for comment.

Wendy Williams in 2018. - Paras Griffin/Getty Images
Wendy Williams in 2018. - Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Williams was the host of her eponymous “The Wendy Williams Show” until 2022, when Sherri Shepherd took over her time slot. Prior to the show’s end, Williams had been absent from hosting duties since the premiere of the 13th season, which ended up being its last. At the time, the show attributed her absence to Williams’ recovery from Covid-19 and later said she was struggling with Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder.

“The Wendy Williams Show” was created by Williams and debuted in 2008 from studios in New York City. She began her career in radio and developed a reputation for her quick wit and no-filter interviews. She was known for her candor, which also ruffled a few feathers among those in entertainment along the way.


Williams often prided herself on being candid with her viewers as well. She has been open about her previous struggle with addiction. In 2019, she spoke on the show about living in a sober house after seeking treatment for drug use. She filed for divorce from her husband, Kevin Hunter, the same year.

For more CNN news and newsletters create an account at CNN.com