Insiders from The Wendy Williams Show share new details about her messy final season and her health struggles

Wendy Williams often seemed incoherent in the months leading up to her talk show’s cancellation and then had to be repeatedly reminded that the program had been canceled, according to a new report that sheds light on her struggle to stay on the air.

Why the 58-year-old host of The Wendy Williams Show didn’t return to her iconic purple chair last fall continues to haunt fans of the gossip queen of the day. Williams has cited complications from Graves’ disease and lymphedema, but the two conditions don’t fully explain her increasingly bizarre speech, which has featured in multiple interviews over the past year.

“To this day we don’t really know what the problem is,” Lonnie Burstein, an executive at Debmar-Mercury, the production company behind it The Wendy Williams Showsaid The Hollywood Reporter.

Sources said Williams spent the summer of 2021 in and out of hospitals but continued to insist she was fine, even as those around her realized that her once sharp mind – which for 13 years had been cheering viewers up every day entertained for half an hour of unwritten bullshit – faltered.

Staffers say there were signs her health was deteriorating in the four years before the show’s cancellation. Producers had to text Debmar-Mercury executives “at least 25” times asking if the host was sober enough to go on the air. At least one pre-taped episode had to be pulled because it was reportedly not sober enough. A source said staff were “finding bottles [of alcohol] up in the ceiling tiles and other weird places in the office.”

Up until last September, following her extended absence from season 13, the show’s 100-strong staff was extremely concerned about Williams and her own job security and more out of touch with reality.

“She gets in and starts like, ‘I’m really fine, I’m going to be fine,’ and it’s like, ‘What are you saying?'” a show insider said The Hollywood Reporterand stated that Williams was “starting to be incoherent”.

Burstein said: “It lasted two and a half, three minutes and it wasn’t pretty,” he added, “people were kind of freaking out. She said things like, ‘Oh I can’t wait, I’ll be back with you very soon,’ but it was obvious to anyone watching that she wouldn’t be back very soon.”

“She said things like, “Oh, I can’t wait, I’ll be with you again soon,” but it was obvious to anyone watching that she wasn’t really going to be back any time soon.”

Things went downhill from there, as Williams constantly teased her return to the show without providing any details about her physical or mental health. Amid a revolving door of 16 guest presenters hired for season 13 last year, networks pressed Debmar-Mercury for an answer on whether The Wendy Williams Show would return in its original form.

“At a certain point, you can’t really play what-if,” said Frank Cicha, Fox TV network’s programming director THR. “You must have an answer.”

Finally, The Wendy Williams Show was officially canceled in February, and the timeslot was reassigned to Sherri Shepherd, a friend of Williams’s who guest-hosted in her absence. Williams didn’t take the news well, though she reportedly couldn’t produce a medical certificate proving she was healthy enough to return to work.

“I think if there was a piece of paper that said, ‘No problem, she’s fine,’ she would have no hesitation in showing it,” said Debmar-Mercury co-president Mort Marcus, hinting that that the health of the host was so poor that their doctors could not sort out their return.

Even after the cancellation was announced, a confused Williams reached out to Debmar-Mercury executives multiple times, wondering why her show had been canceled and when she could return. Marcus and Co-President Ira Bernstein narrated THR that every time Williams contacted her, it was like she was leading the conversation for the first time.

“After the cancellation was announced, a confused Williams reached out to executives several times, wondering why her show had been canceled and when she could return.”

A representative for Williams did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Daily Beast.

Unfortunately, this painful portrayal of Williams matches what the public has seen over the past year. In February, Wells Fargo petitioned a New York judge to appoint a financial guardian for the television host. The bank called her an “incompetent person,” and a former financial adviser said Williams was not “in his right mind.” page six reported at the time. Afterwards, Williams posted an Instagram video of her tossing her hair and repeating, “This isn’t right, and this isn’t fair.”

An appearance on TMZ in June worried fans even more when the one-time arsonist appeared to slur her words and even stuck her foot up for the camera to show the effects of swelling caused by lymphedema.

Personal personnel shocks also point to turmoil in Williams’ inner circle. She stopped communicating with her manager, Bernie Young, around Thanksgiving, and Young recounted it THR, “Her family wanted to take over and do the things that they wanted to do for her and with her, and it’s like, ‘All right, OK. Look, I disagree, look at the progress.’”

Meanwhile, it seems like those close to Williams are worried about her new manager, jeweler William Selby, who admits he can’t always control what his client will do. “She is an adult. I can’t lock her in a house and say, ‘Don’t move, don’t even look out the window.’ This is not a prison,” Selby said The Hollywood Reporter regarding their recent interviews.

Selby defended himself against critics who questioned his intentions with Williams, saying: “I know everyone thinks [that we’re all] try to take advantage of them and what i dont understand i dont look rich? Why would I step into Wendy’s life to take advantage of her? I do not have time for that.”

These days, tabloids keep chasing Williams, photographing her asleep in a Louis Vuitton store with a full flute of champagne beside her, or barefoot in the lobby of her Manhattan apartment building. And yet Williams continues to promise her return, now in the form of a podcast called The Wendy Experience. In a since-deleted promo released last week, she promised, “Co-hosts, I’m famous and I’ll be back, trust me.” Insiders from The Wendy Williams Show share new details about her messy final season and her health struggles


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