EXCLUSIVE: Befuddled and barefoot, Wendy Williams’s mental and physical health are ‘worse than people realize’ as she appears swaddled in a Versace robe in public and asleep in Vuitton store next to a glass of bubbly, insisting her comeback is imminent
- Wendy Williams, 58, barefoot and in a Versace robe was spotted by DailyMail.com’s camera in the lobby of her Manhattan apartment Thursday
- She flashed a wide smile and spoke to the front desk seemingly oblivious to how bizarre her appearance was and the glances of others
- She was also seen asleep at a Louis Vuitton store with a full champagne glass by the bedside last month and did a rambling interview on TMZ where she displayed her swollen legs and feet on camera
- Sources tell DailyMail.com that despite her efforts to maintain a public profile, Williams’s physical and mental health are declining and worse than previously known
- ‘Wendy’s life and her situation is far worse than people realize. She has been plagued with serious health challenges,’ a source told DailyMail.com
- According to the source, many of Williams’s troubles are ‘as a direct result of untreated alcohol addiction’
- They claim her addiction worsened during her stint in rehab for cocaine addiction during her separation and divorce from cheating husband Kevin Hunter
Staring unblinking into the camera, her cheeks rouged, her smile stretched wide, Wendy Williams wants the world to know that she’s ready for her close up.
‘Co-hosts I’m famous,’ she announces, ‘And I’ll be back. Trust me.’
But if Williams’s latest, public appearance in a promo clip for her podcast, ‘The Wendy Experience,’ was meant to allay fans’ fears that all is not well then it failed.
On Thursday the former daytime television queen appeared, befuddled and barefoot, swaddled in her Versace robe, late afternoon in the lobby of her downtown apartment building.
Pictures obtained by DailyMail.com show her speaking animatedly to staff, before grinning a jaunty farewell seemingly oblivious to the strangeness of it all or the glances of others.
Now, DailyMail.com can reveal, that despite her clear efforts to maintain a public profile Williams’s physical and mental health are far more precarious than previously known.
The reality behind the recent string of bizarre appearances – including a rambling interview on TMZ when she displayed her swollen legs and feet on camera, another in which she made the outlandish claim that she had married a New York cop, and a third were she was seen asleep at the Louis Vuitton store – is a woman in crisis.
Wendy Williams flashed a smile Thursday as sources tell DailyMail.com that her mental and physical health are in a decline. The former daytime television queen appeared barefoot, swaddled in her Versace robe, late afternoon in the lobby of her downtown apartment building
Wendy smiled at the cameras seemingly oblivious to the strangeness of her appearance and the glances of others. Speaking to DailyMail.com one source said, ‘Wendy’s life and her situation is far worse than people realize. She has been plagued with serious health challenges’
Wendy walked on the cold tile of her apartment lobby barefoot. She’s spoken openly about her struggles with Lymphedema, which cause her legs and feet to swell
Wendy was captured asleep in the Louis Vuitton store last month with a glass of champagne nearby last month
While appearing on TMZ to promote her podcast, Wendy gave a rambling interview and showed off her swollen legs and feet, bringing them into view
Pictures obtained by DailyMail.com show Wendy speaking animatedly to staff at the front desk of her luxury building
Tenants of the luxury high-rise were taken back seeing Wendy at the front desk in nothing but a robe talking with the concierge of her luxury apartment building
Despite her ailments, Wendy has made an effort to save face and flashed a smile. She has been promoting a comeback, but sources say it’s not just premature, but unrealistic
Williams herself has spoken openly about her struggles with Lymphedema and Graves disease but, DailyMail.com has learned, the troubles run much deeper.
According to her brother Tommy, she is geographically and emotionally isolated from her family. Meanwhile her manager, celebrity jeweler William Selby III, admits that he has to ‘fight’ her to manage her expectations for a comeback that is, to say the least, premature.
Speaking to DailyMail.com, one source said, ‘Wendy’s life and her situation are far worse than people realize. She has been plagued with serious health challenges.’
Sources claim her alcohol addiction worsened during her stint in rehab for cocaine addiction during her separation and divorce from her cheating husband Kevin Hunter
Speaking to DailyMail.com Williams’s manager Selby admitted, ‘Look at everything Wendy has lost. She’s lost her mother, she’s lost her show, she’s gone through a divorce, she’s lost her son to college. She has lymphedema, thyroid issues, she’s 58-years-old.
‘We’re used to seeing Wendy prepped and on camera but what you’re seeing now is Wendy raw. She’s going to have bad days.’
To many it seems that she is having rather a lot of them of late and in recent pictures she appeared to have lost a dramatic amount of weight.
According to the source many of Williams’s troubles are, ‘as a direct result of untreated alcohol addiction’ that, they claim, worsened during her stint in rehab for cocaine addiction in 2019 during her separation and divorce from her second husband, Kevin Hunter.
Today DailyMail.com has learned that Williams’s absence from her own set had been a long time coming and that her relationship with alcohol was at the heart of many problems.
According to one show insider, ‘Williams’s drinking wasn’t new to her talk show team. She had already been abusing the booze while still married to [Kevin] Hunter but he helped her hide it.’
Williams was with Hunter for close to 25 years and married for 21 when she filed for divorce in April 2019 following the revelation by DailyMail.com that he was having a child with his mistress of 15 years, Sharina Hudson, to whom he has since become engaged.
With the end of her marriage, the insider said, came the end of Hunter’s stabilizing – if controlling- influence.
They said, ‘I remember fans online asking for the network to cancel the show because it was obvious Wendy was on-air drunk. What viewers never knew was that there was easily a dozen other shows where we couldn’t even put her on TV because her condition was so bad.
‘One thing Kevin was good for was making sure Wendy could do the show. She never went too far when he was in the picture because she feared him, just like most people on the staff.
‘He led with heavy-handed tactics so even Wendy stayed in line when he was around.’
Earlier this year a source told the New York Post’s Page Six, ‘Maybe Kevin is not exactly the bad guy. He kept things in order. He kept away the so-called friends and hangers-on.
‘With him gone, people were able to get close to her who should not have.’
Wendy was with Kevin Hunter for close to 25 years and married for 21 when she filed for divorce in April 2019 following the revelation that he had fathered a child with his mistress of 15 years, Sharina Hudson, to whom he has since become engaged. Sharina Hudson is pictured
A source has claimed that Williams is now estranged from her son Kevin Hunter Jr, 21, (right) – an allegation that her manager denies
With the end of her marriage, the insider said, came the end of Hunter’s stabilizing – if controlling- influence. The couple are pictured in 2019 before their divorce
According to another insider Williams’s sobriety hit an all-time low around June 2021 when she spent a weekend partying with Ray J. The actor and singer, real name William Ray Norwood Jr. and brother of singer Brandy, was reportedly dating Whitney Houston up to her death in 2012.
Wendy posted a video to her Instagram saying they ‘can’t count me out’ while promoting what seems to be her new podcast
Williams was spotted hanging out with Ray J ‘all over New York City’ one June weekend and, the show insider told DailyMail.com, when she turned up at work on Monday, ‘she was so intoxicated that producers canceled the show that day and several others that week.’
They said, ‘Whether it was alcohol, drugs or both; she was never the same after that weekend. She came back to work and was completely out of it. And everyone knew when she failed to get into her own car service that morning and Ray J personally dropped her off at work that she wasn’t going to be able to host that week.’
Williams’s health has continued to deteriorate from then on. The last time she hosted her show was July 2021.
Behind the scenes her crew was growing increasingly concerned by some alarming symptoms that Williams had begun to display including, one source told DailyMail.com, apparent visual and aural hallucinations.
TMZ reported that she spent a period in hospital for psychiatric evaluation shortly after the show announced that she had suffered a breakthrough Covid 19 diagnosis in September 2021.
DailyMail.com has learned that a health condition was ultimately diagnosed for which she has undergone treatment.
News of these troubles broke just as she was gearing up to film Season 13 of her hit show.
With no details given, on September 9, 2021, production announced that Williams would temporarily step back from promoting the show to deal with some ‘ongoing health issues.’
Exclusive pictures obtained by DailyMail.com showed Williams looking frail and in a wheelchair as filming was pushed yet again, from September to October.
Finally in November, Williams herself shared a health update.
In an Instagram post she wrote, ‘I’m making progress but it’s just one of those things that’s taking longer than we expected. 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.’
According to the insider, Williams’s sobriety hit an all-time low around June 2021 when she spent a weekend partying with rapper Ray J. Williams was spotted hanging out with Ray J ‘all over New York City’ one June weekend and, the show insider told DailyMail.com, when she turned up at work on Monday, ‘she was so intoxicated that producers canceled the show that day and several others that week’
Wendy was spotted by DailyMail.com in September leaving her Manhattan apartment while being pushed in a wheelchair during her hiatus from her show due to medical issues
Wendy sparked concern after appearing disorientated leaving a building in New York City last Monday, while also showing off her trim frame in a pair of small denim cut-off shorts
In September, DailyMail.com spotted Wendy vaping after contracting Covid-19. This was during her hiatus from her show that ultimately led to it being axed
That date would never come and while production batted back questions and promised her imminent return they filled her chair with a string of co-hosts, one of whom, Sherri Shepherd, would eventually claim the show as her own.
Meanwhile the health troubles with which Williams battled were compounded by the emotional toll of continued strife in her always turbulent life.
A source has claimed that Williams is now estranged from her son Kevin Hunter Jr, 21 – an allegation that her manager denies.
Wendy’s relationship with her son has long been fraught with Hunter Jr. reportedly issuing his mother with an ultimatum back in January telling her that he wouldn’t be in her life ‘unless she fixes herself’
Certainly, the mother, son, dynamic has long been fraught with Hunter Jr. reportedly issuing his mother with an ultimatum back in January telling her that he wouldn’t be in her life ‘unless she fixes herself.’
The ultimatum came following his mother’s release from her brief spell in hospital and during what would become her lengthy hiatus from her daytime talk show.
Now, DailyMail.com has learned that, according to one source, during this difficult time Williams’s son, who split his time between New York and Miami, ‘Had a weekend of partying in a Miami hotel and ran up a credit card bill of about $90,000.’
The insider alleged, ‘On the Monday when Williams’s financial advisor received the notice from American Express Kevin’s AMEX was cut off.’
Speaking to DailyMail.com Williams’s manager Selby denied that she was no longer speaking to her son. He said, ‘Could they be in a better place, yes, but they talk. The distance of college puts a strain on any relationship and that’s happened.’
As for Hunter Jr. running up excessive credit card bills, Selby said, ‘I wasn’t there to see if Kevin went on a spending spree but let’s use our common sense. Any child is doing to do stuff that surprises us sometimes and if Kevin did that then Wendy, as his mother, is going to talk to him about it. Wendy loves her son.’
Williams has also endured a turbulent time with her bank restricting her access to her funds.
In March 2022, Wells Fargo filed a petition to have Williams’s account frozen because the bank, ‘has strong reason to believe that [Williams] is the victim of undue influence and financial exploitation.’
The bank noted that Williams was an ‘established’ client of Wells Fargo who had worked with the same financial advisor for the past 15 years.
Williams has publicly railed against the freeze on her funds, but Wells Fargo was adamant stating in court documents that they were, ‘relying not only on reports of the financial advisor who has recently witnessed telltale signs of exploitation, including [Williams’] own expressed apprehensions, but also upon other independent third-parties who know the petitioner well and share these concerns.’
Wells Fargo later filed a petition that saw the court appoint a guardian of Williams’s financial interests.
According to the source, ‘Wendy initially lashed out at her former manager Bernie Young and others and accused them of being accomplices in having Wells Fargo freeze her accounts.’
Wendy has since walked back those allegations.
Speaking to DailyMail.com Williams’s manager, celebrity jeweler, William Selby III (pictured with Wendy) admitted, ‘Look at everything Wendy has lost. She’s lost her mother, she’s lost her show, she’s gone through a divorce, she’s lost her son to college. She has lymphedema, thyroid issues, she’s 58-years-old’
Williams’s brother, Tommy, recently expressed his own concern at his sister’s estrangement from family in general. According to Tommy, Williams is rejecting help from those who love her most and he fears that she is vulnerable to people whose intentions are not pure
Williams’s brother, Tommy, recently expressed his own concern at his sister’s estrangement from family in general.
Speaking out last month he said, ‘I’m very supportive of Wendy so I tried to keep things under wraps in terms of her health.
‘She is fighting. She is struggling. She is working her way back to being Wendy. No, she is not the Wendy we all knew and it’s very sad, very heart-breaking, very disappointing and it’s very frustrating.’
According to Tommy, Williams is rejecting help from those who love her most and he fears that she is vulnerable to people whose intentions are not pure.
He said, ‘The fact [is] that she needs to be away from people that are going to do her wrong. That’s the situation, the fact that her family is all down here in South Florida and Wendy is up in New York by herself.’
He added, ‘I want to be there badly but I’m not being brought in. It’s not because Wendy and I are not in a good space, we are, but mentally she’s not on board.
‘She doesn’t want me near because she realizes that I’m there to help so I might have some validity to a lot of things I’m trying to push on her so she pushes me away.’
Wendy was last seen on her show on July 16, 2021. Her team pushed back her return for months until the show was finally canceled
Debmar-Mercury the company that produced the Wendy show has been circumspect in their public comments about the star with whom they had such a longstanding relationship.
But one insider told DailyMail.com, ‘They have cut ties. They love Wendy the person, but the truth is she’s not good for business. No TV network or podcast company can insure Wendy at this point in her life. She won’t be able to pass a physical and her inability to work consistently over the last three years has been very public.
‘No insurance company in hell would authorize someone doing a deal with her. If she was in good health Debmar would have allowed her back at any point last season.
‘The fact is Wendy didn’t host the final season or the final episode of he own show because of the choices she made with her addiction that compromised her health. This is her own doing and that’s something even her diehard fans will have to face.’
Meanwhile Williams’s new manager, William Selby, has been frank in his assessment of his client’s state of health and her readiness to relaunch herself into the public realm as the host a podcast which, she claims, will earn her ‘much, much more’ money than any television show ever could.
Selby admitted, ‘She’s telling me she wants to do the podcast every day. She’s ready to do this thing today and I am fighting her off.
‘Could she better? Yes. More still needs to be done to put her in the space where she can be represented better. I just want her legacy to be respected and intact.’
‘Wendy is a workaholic, she’s been working non-stop 15, 20 years. I would just ask her co-hosts and her fans to be patient. She’s focusing on her health right now and getting healthier and of course she wants to see her family.
‘She’s going through a lot. She’s still hurting and battling a lot at one time, any person who had gone through half the stuff that Wendy has would have crumbled and at the same time she rushes herself and feels compelled to do things when maybe she should wait a week, or a month.
‘She’s a person after all and I would just ask people to remember that.’
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