Talk Show Host Wendy Williams, 59, Diagnosed With Dementia And Aphasia: Report

Television and radio host Wendy Williams attends the launch party for "The Wendy Williams Show" in New York, Monday, July 13, 2009. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)

The health struggles of the celebrated former talk show icon, Wendy Williams, have come into sharper focus with revelations from her medical team about her diagnosis of primary aggressive aphasia and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). These diagnoses present significant challenges affecting her ability to communicate and her behavioral and cognitive functions.

Aphasia is a disorder that impairs a person’s language skills, including speaking, understanding others, reading, and writing. It’s often caused by damage to the areas of the brain responsible for language. Frontotemporal dementia, on the other hand, is known for its progressive deterioration of an individual’s behavior and cognitive abilities.
Similarly battling these daunting conditions is acclaimed actor Bruce Willis, who, faced with the same diagnosis, stepped back from his illustrious acting career in 2022. His condition escalated to include FTD in the subsequent year.

At 59 years old, Wendy Williams’s situation has been further complicated by reports, including a People article suggesting a disconnection between her and her family. Allegedly, they are unaware of her current treatment location and have sparse communication, limited only to instances when she initiates contact.

The curiosity and concerns surrounding Williams’s well-being are set to be more deeply explored in the upcoming Lifetime docuseries, “Where Is Wendy Williams?”. The two-part special, airing on February 24 and 25, seeks to shed light on the life and present circumstances of the beloved television figure.

“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,” read a statement released Thursday morning.

“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,” it continued. “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.

“In 2023, after undergoing a battery of medical tests, Wendy was officially diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) … [they] have already presented significant hurdles in Wendy’s life.”