Wendy Williams Won’t Return to Her Show ‘for the Rest of the Season’ Due to Health Issues

“Her healing is going slower than everyone had hoped.”

  • Wendy Williams will reportedly remain absent from her talk show for the remainder of Season 13 as she faces ongoing health issues.
  • Guest hosts, including Sherri Shepherd and Michael Rapaport, have been filling in on The Wendy Williams Show since October; they’ll continue through February, and Sheperd will reportedly be named permanent guest host.
  • Rumors are swirling that Williams is experiencing dementia and can’t dress herself without help; a representative dismissed them as “false” adding: “Whether Wendy can return in the fall will depend on how her healing goes over the summer.”

    Throughout February, guest hosts have helmed The Wendy Williams Show as Williams deals with ongoing health concerns. And although fans may have hoped to see her return in March, it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. According to a new report from People, the host “won’t be returning” to the purple chair for “the rest of the season.”

    “Wendy won’t be returning to the show for the rest of this season,” a source told the outlet. “Her healing is going slower than everyone had hoped. She continues to deal with a number of medical issues, including Graves’ disease, and she and her team are taking it one day at a time.”

    The show has aired without Williams since October, with fan-favorite guest hosts including Michael Rapaport, Fat Joe, Remy Ma, Bevy Smith, Terrence J, and Sherri Sheperd filling in. In light of the latest news on Williams’ health, Sheperd will reportedly be named the show’s permanent guest host, per TMZ. However, The Wendy Williams Show has yet to directly confirm or address such news.

    A rep for Sheperd told People that she is “thrilled to be invited back to guest host The Wendy Williams Show the week of February 21st” but offered “no comment” on “rumors” of her position being made permanent.

    Speculation around the state of Williams’ health has swirled since her hiatus began last year, including unsubstantiated claims that she’s had to use a wheelchair and is suffering from early-onset dementia. Her representatives have continually dismissed these stories as “inaccurate” and “speculation,” and People’s latest report holds strong on that front.

    “Reports of a stroke, drugs or addiction issues, or a dementia diagnosis are all false,” the source said. “Whether Wendy can return in the fall will depend on how her healing goes over the summer. Her health is the most important thing.”

    Still, in January, a source expressed concern to The Sun about Williams’ health. “The spark is gone,” they said. “She’s not always functioning like she used to be. She has days where she needs help eating, getting out of bed, and getting dressed.”

    However, Williams herself dispelled the rumors when she was spotted in public in early December. In a video posted by gossip blog The Shade Room, she exited a Miami wellness center holding the arm of an aide. “Wendy is doing fabulous,” the talk-show host told the cameraman, promising “lots more Wendy stuff” down the line.

    According to Tommy Williams, the personality’s younger brother, there’s no chance she’s battling dementia. “We 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,” he told The Sun in November. In another social media update from January, Williams’ son, Kevin Hunter, Jr., posted a clip of his mother enjoying a healthy meal and in good spirits, per MadameNoir.

    The Wendy Williams Show announced in December that Williams would not be returning as host in January. Her last official communication with fans was in a November 8 Instagram post that explained her ongoing health concerns: “HOW YOU DOIN’?” Williams, 57, wrote. “As everyone knows, my health has been a hot topic. I’m making progress, but it’s just one of those things that’s taking longer than we expected.”

    In an October update, the show’s team gave some rare details about Williams’ condition. “She is making progress but is experiencing serious complications as a direct result of Graves’ disease and her thyroid condition,” the statement said. “It has been determined that more time is needed before she is able to return to her live hosting duties.”

    In her November post, Williams told fans she’s doing her best to recover. “I’m a woman of a certain age, and I know enough to listen to my doctors and will return to my purple chair as soon as we all agree I’m ready,” she wrote. “I want to thank all of my staff and our guest hosts for stepping up and stepping in while I can’t be there.”

    Williams has officially delayed her return to TV five times since September 9, when she canceled all public appearances. Season 13 of The Wendy Williams Show was originally slated for a September 20 premiere; it was pushed to October 4, then to October 18, when it returned with a series of guest hosts.

    Williams announced she had been diagnosed with Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes an overactive thyroid, in February 2018. She has previously taken extended breaks from her show in 2018, 2019, and 2020. The host also contracted a breakthrough COVID-19 infection in September, although a previous announcement assured fans she has since fully recovered from the virus.

    Graves’ disease causes hyperthyroidism, or an excess of thyroid hormone, leading to symptoms like chronic fatigue, trembling hands, and sleeping difficulties, per the National Institutes of Health. There is no cure, but treatment can help patients manage symptoms and avoid more serious health complications. Williams also has lymphedema, swelling caused by a buildup of lymph fluid that presents as swollen legs and ankles.

    “I had a storm going in my body is the best way I can explain it,” Williams told People in 2018. “I love doing the show, but I love me more. So I’m going to take care of me, so I can be there for them.”

    “Most of all, I want to thank my fans. I have heard your prayers and comments and feel all the love!” Williams wrote on Instagram. “You are everything to me. I love spending my mornings with you all and I’m doing everything I can to get back to work, but right now Wendy has to focus on Wendy. I love you for watching.”

    With any luck, we’ll be watching Williams again soon.

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