Wendy Williams Has Aphasia and Frontotemporal Dementia

US daytime talk show icon Wendy Williams Hunter was diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) last year, as announced by her care team.

The team revealed it was sharing the news “to correct inaccurate and hurtful rumors about her health.”

Wendy Williams, a renowned figure in daytime television, was the face of the widely watched show The Wendy Williams Show for more than ten years. However, her show came to an end in 2022 as she battled these health issues.

This disclosure follows a People Magazine feature that reported Ms. Williams is currently in a care facility at an undisclosed location, experiencing a severe decline in her health.

“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,” her care team wrote in a statement on Thursday.

“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.”

Her diagnosis was confirmed through comprehensive medical evaluations conducted last year.

Aphasia, a condition affecting communication, makes it hard for patients to convey their thoughts and can even lead to a loss of speech or writing abilities.

Frontotemporal dementia, an untreatable brain condition resulting from damage to the brain’s left side, impairs speech and communication.

Although its symptoms worsen over time, current treatments cannot halt or reverse this progression, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

This condition usually affects individuals at a younger age than other dementia types, typically those aged between 45 and 64.

Ms. Williams is experiencing a similar journey to the famed actor Bruce Willis, who was also diagnosed with aphasia and later with FTD.

Her care team from New Jersey shared in their statement that while FTD has posed considerable challenges, Ms. Williams remains capable of handling many personal tasks independently.

“Most importantly, she maintains her trademark sense of humor and is receiving the care she requires to make sure she is protected and that her needs are addressed,” they wrote.

The television personality, who will celebrate her 60th birthday in July, started her career in the broadcasting world as a DJ and shock jock in New York.

Her breakthrough came as the host of The Wendy Williams Show from 2008 to 2021, where her forthright commentary, candid disclosures, and memorable on-air disputes became widely shared across the internet.

Speculation regarding Ms. Williams’ well-being has been rampant for some time. During a Halloween broadcast in 2017, she unexpectedly collapsed.

Due to her health issues, including Graves’ disease, a condition where the immune system attacks the thyroid, she had to temporarily leave her show in 2021, leading to various guest hosts filling in.

The following year, the production of her show was halted. Not long after, she was placed under financial guardianship when Wells Fargo bank declared her “incapacitated.”

The Lifetime network, known for airing the documentary “Wendy Williams: What a Mess,” is preparing to launch a new two-part documentary titled “Where is Wendy Williams?” this coming weekend.

The decision to share her condition publicly was driven by a desire to foster empathy for her situation and to increase awareness about the disease, as stated by her healthcare providers.

The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration points out that FTD is often unrecognized or wrongly diagnosed by many doctors, leaving many patients without a proper diagnosis.

Moreover, behavioral changes in patients can lead to stigma and misunderstandings about their condition.