Wendy Williams Health Updates: Dementia Diagnosis, Explained

Wendy Williams health, both mental and physical, has sadly been deteriorating in recent years.

Fans have come to learn that not only has she been battling Graves disease, lymphedema, and addiction, but the beloved talk show host has also been diagnosed with dementia as well as aphasia.

This is the same condition that Bruce Willis was diagnosed with recently.

Let’s check in with everyone’s favorite gossip to see just how she’s doing.

Wendy Williams in gold jacket on red carpet
Wendy in happier days, working the red carpet ((Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Vulture Festival))

Wendy Williams Diagnosed with Frontotemporal Dementia and Aphasia

Just days before Lifetime released there documentary, Where Is Wendy Williams?, the talk show host’s team announced the shocking news.

Wendy, at just 59, has been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia and aphasia.

“On behalf of Wendy Williams Hunter, her care team is sharing this very personal update with her cherished fans, friends, and supporters to correct inaccurate and hurtful rumors about her health,” a statement revealed from her team, presumably the guardianship in place to look after her..

The statement explained that Wendy underwent a slew of tests in 2023. The tests felt necessary after it appeared her memory was starting to fail and she began to “lose words” and “act erratically.”

“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.”

After being examined by doctors, it was concluded that Wendy was suffering from frontotemporal dementia and aphasia.

If that diagnosis sounds familiar, it’s because this the same affliction Bruce Willis’ family revealed he had in 2022.

“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 circumstances.” the statement added.

Wendy Williams at Madame Tussauds
Wendy Williams with her son, Kevin Hunter jr. at the unveiling of her Madame Tussauds figure. ((Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Madame Tussauds New York))

What Is Aphasia and Frontotemporal Dementia?

Frontotemporal Dementia, or FTD is the most common form of dementia for people under 60, according to the The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration.

Frontotemporal dementia is different than the “dementia” most people are most familiar with. FTD affect one’s personality, behavior, language, and movement, due to the specific areas of the brain affected (the frontal and temporal lobes).

According to the Association, there is no known cure of the condition, and people diagnosed with FTD face a life expectancy ranging from 7 to 13 years.

((Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for Apple TV+))

Wendy Williams Diagnosed With Graves Disease

Sadly, Wendy is not unfamiliar with severe medical battles.

In February 2018, Wendy announced to viewers of her show that she had Graves’ disease, and had been living with it for years.

A year earlier, fans saw just how big of a toll the condition took on her when Wendy fainted and collapsed live on-air during a Halloween segment.

Graves’ disease is an autoimmune condition related to the thyroid. The overproduction of thyroid hormones, or hyperthyroidism, can lead to an increased heart rate, sweating, weight loss, anxiety, hair loss, difficulty sleeping and bulging eyes, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Wendy Williams speaks onstage during the 2017 Global Citizen Festival in Central Park on September 23, 2017 in New York City.
Wendy Williams speaks onstage during the 2017 Global Citizen Festival in Central Park on September 23, 2017 in New York City. ((Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Global Citizen))

Wendy Also Revealed She has Lymphedema in 2022

During a segment with TMZ Live, Wendy make the shocking announcement that she was also battling lymphedema.

Showing her swollen feet to the team, she explained that she could “only feel maybe 5%” of her feet at any given time.

The condition is caused by an accumulation of fluid that builds up when the lymphatic system doesn’t properly drain fluid from various parts of the body, according to the Mayo Clinic

In the Lifetime documentary, Wendy shows the current state of her feet to pal Blac Chyna to see how badly they have deformed.

This is the most likely reason that Wendy is seen in a wheelchair most of the time.

Wendy’s Addictions: Her Struggles To Kick Cocaine and Alcohol

On top of it all, Wendy has even more demons to take on.

In 2019, Wendy revealed to viewers she was living in a sober house.

“You know I’ve had a struggle with cocaine in my past, and I never went to a place to get the treatment,” Williams said during an episode of her show.

What was unknown at the time was, along with her history of cocaine use, Wendy had begun drinking heavily as well.

During the time leading up to the release of the Wendy documentary, her alcohol use was highly discussed. In the trailer for the film, she’s caught finishing off a bottle of vodka.

In interviews, like the one given to People Magazine, her family revealed they tried to step in to get her clean however they could.

Her son said when she was staying with him in Miami around 2022, “I helped her heal by, one, eliminating all alcohol, (and two,) keeping her occupied (by) going to the beach, working out.”

People also reported that the documentary crew stopped filming in April 2023 because she checked into a facility in part due to her alcohol use.

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