Wendy Williams, 54, revealed her shocking situation during a live taping on Tuesday, explaining that she has been living in a sober home for addiction. Wendy did not say how long she has been living apart from her family, nor did she reveal the type of addiction she has, though she has been upfront about her use of cocaine in the past. She also did not reveal if this situation has played a part in her extended leave from the show earlier in the year. However, Wendy, who admitted she also has a sober coach that works with her around the clock, broke down in tears when she shared the news, which included her unexpected daily routine.
“For some time now, and even today and beyond, I have been living in a sober house,” a tearful Wendy began with only 15 minutes left in her live show. “When you see me come to work glammed up, right after the show I go across the street, I do my pilates… two hours a day I like to take care of my body. 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. God was sitting on my shoulder and I just stopped… There are people in your family that might be struggling, maybe you, and I just want you to know more of the story, so this is my autobiographical story and I’m living it.”
Wendy continued: “After I go to pilates, I go to several meetings all around town in the tristate area, and I see my brothers and sisters caught up in their addiction, looking for help. They don’t care I’m Wendy, there’s no autographs — there’s nothing. It’s the brothers and the sisters caught up in the struggle. It’s been really interesting. Only Kevin [senior, her husband] and Kevin [junior, her son] have known about this. Not my parents, nobody, nobody knew, because I look so glamorous out here.”
“After I finish my appointments from seeing my brothers and sisters, breaking bread, I am driven by my 24-hour sober coach back to a home that I live in here in the tristate with a bunch of smelly boys who’ve become my family. They hog the TV and watch soccer and we talk and read and talk and read and then I get bored with them. Doors locked by 10 PM, lights out by 10 PM, so I go to my room and I stare at the ceiling and I fall asleep to wake up to come back here and see you. So that, is my truth.”
Wendy went on to inform the public of her Hunter Foundation hotline. “Either you’re calling my crazy or the bravest woman you know — I don’t care,” she said. “If you or someone who know, our Hunter Foundation just launched last week. We already have successfully place 56 people in recovery centers around the country.”
Wendy and her husband, Kevin Hunter announced the launch of the 888-5HUNTER hotline on Monday, March 11, to help those suffering from drug addiction and substance abuse, in connection with her family’s foundation The Hunter Foundation. “The 24-hour hotline will be fully staffed by specially trained Certified Recovery Coaches that will conduct assessments and match callers with individual specialized lists of short or longer term treatment facilities including detox, rehabilitation, sober living and outpatient centers throughout the country,” according to an official press release.
“We must all come together to respond to this crisis of addiction and substance abuse,” Wendy is quoted in the release. “Everyone is at risk from the inner cities to more affluent communities. My family and I are very proud to partner with T.R.U.S.T. to get people the help that they so desperately need, especially if they or their families have given up hope. There is hope.”
During her confession, Wendy mentioned her past struggles with cocaine addiction. The talk show host had a near 10-year bout with the drug, and she recently spoke about her dark past on her show in early March. “Once you’re a substance abuser, you have to battle that for the rest of your life,” Wendy, who referred to herself as a “walking addict,” said. “I’ve told you about my 10-year ride with the cocaine and the crack. Oh, yes, crack is wack — but it was very good to me at a particularly stupid point in my life. … I was a mess, functioning, killing myself. I realize that I am a walking addict. Do you know what I’m saying? You can’t just clean it up and stop it and think it’s not going to affect you.”
“I had wasted a lot of my life, burning up my insides, which aren’t burnt, thank God, but you never know when it could pop up,” she added. “So I constantly have to watch the inside of my body because of hard partying, plus, you know, the thyroid. Just a mess.”
Wendy began abusing cocaine while she was working in radio, although it’s unclear exactly when her drug use started. The host broke into radio in 1989, and transitioned into TV in 2008. She revealed more details about that time in her life during an interview in July 2018.
“I was a functioning addict though,” she told Entertainment Tonight at the time. “I report to work on time, and I’d walk in and all my co-workers, including my bosses, would know but since I would have my headphones on and walk in the studio and [they] wouldn’t fire me because I was making ratings.”
Wendy explained how she had to be on her game while balancing work and her partying lifestyle. “[A] functioning addict has several alarm clocks, you’re organized,” she said. “It’s a miracle I was able to stop.”
From late 2017 throughout 2018, Wendy suffered a series of health issues, leading up to her bombshell announcement on Tuesday. Wendy was diagnosed with Graves disease — an autoimmune disorder that causes overactive thyroid — after she fainted during a live televised show on October 31. The incident caused the host to miss a slew of shows as she recovered at home, with the help of a team of doctors.
Wendy appeared to be on the mend, until complications from her Graves disease forced her to take a health-advised hiatus, which was announced on January 18, following the show’s holiday break. At that time, Wendy had also suffered a fractured shoulder.
After a near 6-week hiatus — with a rotation of notable names, including Nick Cannon and Jerry O’Connell, who filled in her — Wendy returned to the purple chair on March 4. Ahead of her return, The Wendy Williams Show released a statement on February 21, which announced her return date, along with the network’s loyalty to the host.
As HollywoodLife previously reported, The Wendy Williams Show has been renewed through 2020, despite the host’s continued health issues, subsequent hiatus, and her addiction reveal. The network stood behind Wendy throughout her health complications, and it appears as though the network will do so in light of her addiction news.