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Wendy Williams thanks fans for ‘love and kind words’ after sharing dementia diagnosis

Wendy Williams standing behind a clear lectern.
Wendy Williams in 2019. The TV talk show host issued a statement thanking fans for their support after it was announced she was diagnosed with dementia.
(Willy Sanjuan / Invision / Associated Press)
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Former talk show host Wendy Williams issued a statement Friday thanking the public for its response to the news that she has been diagnosed with dementia.

“I want to say I have immense gratitude for the love and kind words I have received after sharing my diagnosis of Aphasia and Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD). Let me say, wow! Your response has been overwhelming,” Williams says in the statement provided by a representative. “The messages shared with me have touched me, reminding me of the power of unity and the need for compassion. I hope that others with FTD may benefit from my story. I want to also thank the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration for their kind words of support and their extraordinary efforts to raise awareness of FTD. I continue to need personal space and peace to thrive. Please just know that your positivity and encouragement are deeply appreciated.”

Williams released the statement on the eve of the scheduled airing of a new documentary depicting her health struggles. Part 1 of “Where is Wendy Williams?” — produced by Entertainment One — is set to air Saturday night on the cable network Lifetime. Part 2 will air on Sunday.

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A New York Supreme Court judge cleared the way for the airing of the film, after rejecting a lawsuit from a woman — said to be a guardian of Williams — who tried to stop it. The woman, Sabrina Morrissey, requested a restraining order to prevent the airing, but Judge Peter H. Moulton ruled it was an “impermissible prior restraint on speech” that violates the 1st Amendment.

Wendy Williams’ team confirmed that the TV personality’s health has taken a turn for the worse. She was diagnosed with aphasia and frontotemporal dementia.

Feb. 22, 2024

Williams was a dominant figure in daytime TV for 13 years on her eponymous show, where she riffed daily on show business personalities and pop culture topics. Her ongoing health problems led her to depart her syndicated program in 2022 and she was eventually permanently replaced by Sherri Shepherd.

Williams has faced several health issues, including her ongoing battle with Graves’ disease, a thyroid-related autoimmune condition.

The TV personality’s representatives issued a statement on her diagnosis on Thursday. The statement details concerns over her difficulty to process information, noting that she “began to lose words, act erratically at times, and have difficulty understanding financial transactions.”

The statement continued: “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 and support the thousands of others facing similar circumstance.”

“Where Is Wendy Williams?” is a look at the physical, mental and financial struggles that loomed ahead of her departure from her program. Williams was placed under financial guardianship amid a legal battle with Wells Fargo.

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