Wendy Williams speaks out for the first time since dementia, aphasia diagnosis announced

Talk show host expressed 'immense gratitude for the love and kind words' that she has received and said the response from fans has been 'overwhelming'

Wendy Williams has spoken out for the first time since it was revealed that she was diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia and frontotemporal dementia.

The 59-year-old television personality was diagnosed with the conditions in 2023, her representatives confirmed in a statement on Thursday. On Friday, Williams' representatives shared a personal statement from the talk show host that was facilitated by her care team. 

"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)," Williams wrote. "Let me say, wow!  Your response has been overwhelming."

wendy williams slightly smiling

Wendy Williams spoke out for the first time since it was revealed that she was diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia and frontotemporal dementia. (Michael Tran/FilmMagic)

She continued, "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," Williams added.

"I continue to need personal space and peace to thrive.  Please just know that your positivity and encouragement are deeply appreciated." 

In their Thursday statement, Williams' representatives explained that they were revealing her diagnoses on her behalf to "correct inaccurate and hurtful rumors about her health."

wendy williams on andy cohens show

Williams shared her "immense gratitude for the love and kind words" that she had received. (Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

"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," the statement said.

"In 2023, after undergoing a battery of medical tests, Wendy was officially diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Aphasia, a condition affecting language and communication abilities, and frontotemporal dementia, a progressive disorder impacting behavior and cognitive functions, have already presented significant hurdles in Wendy's life."

Specialists at Weill Cornell Medicine are credited as part of her "current care team" who help Wendy "receive the medical care she requires."

"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 said. "Unfortunately, many individuals diagnosed with aphasia and frontotemporal dementia face stigma and misunderstanding, particularly when they begin to exhibit behavioral changes but have not yet received a diagnosis.

"Wendy is still able to do many things for herself. 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. She is appreciative of the many kind thoughts and good wishes being sent her way."

Most notably, actor Bruce Willis was diagnosed in 2022 with the brain disorder which affects communication. FTD is "the result of damage to neurons in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain," according to the National Institute on Aging. "Many possible symptoms can result, including unusual behaviors, emotional problems, trouble communicating, difficulty with work, or difficulty with walking."

Wendy Williams

Williams said through a representative that the support has been "overwhelming." (Getty Images)

Williams has largely remained out of the spotlight since her self-titled talk show was canceled in June 2022, but a new Lifetime documentary titled "Where is Wendy Williams?" attempted to capture Wendy's comeback as she launched a podcast career, only to witness her struggles with alcohol addiction and health issues.

The crew stopped filming in April 2023 when Wendy entered a facility to allegedly treat "cognitive issues" reportedly due to alcohol abuse, and her family claimed in an interview with People magazine that they solely communicate with Wendy through a court-appointed legal guardian.

On Friday, Lifetime confirmed to Fox News Digital that the documentary will air this weekend as scheduled despite a lawsuit filed by Williams' temporary guardian against the network's parent company, A&E Television Networks.

Williams' temporary legal guardian, Sabrina Morrissey, filed a lawsuit under seal in New York County Supreme Court against A&E on Thursday, according to USA Today. Morrissey is suing Lifetime for injunction relief and a temporary restraining order in an effort to halt the airing of the documentary, according to the outlet.

However, a representative for Lifetime confirmed to Fox News Digital on Friday that the network is moving forward with the release of the two-part documentary on Saturday and Sunday.

"Lifetime appeared in court today, and the documentary ‘Where is Wendy Williams?’ will air this weekend as planned," a spokesperson wrote in a statement.

The legal documents state that Morrissey is "acting in her capacity as Temporary Guardian of W.W.H," The initials "W.W.H" presumably stand for Williams' legal name after the host began using her former husband Kelvin Hunter's last name following their marriage, according to the outlet.

Entertainment One Reality Productions, the company that produced "Where is Wendy Williams?" was also named as a defendant in the lawsuit, according to USA Today.

Representatives for Williams told Fox News Digital on Friday that they "do not know anything related to the situation with Lifetime."

Part 1 of "Where is Wendy Williams?" will air at 8 p.m. on February 24, with Part 2 airing at 8 p.m. on February 25 on Lifetime.

Fox News Digital's Tracy Wright contributed to this report.

Ashley Hume is an entertainment writer for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and on Twitter: @ashleyhume

Authored by Ashley Hume via FoxNews February 23rd 2024