Entertainment

Wendy Williams thanks well-wishers after sharing aphasia and dementia diagnosis

Earlier this week, the 59-year-old’s team confirmed the former US talk show host had primary progressive aphasia and frontotemporal dementia.

Wendy Williams (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Wendy Williams Wendy Williams (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP) (Evan Agostini/Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Former US talk show host Wendy Williams has thanked people for their “love and kind words” after it was announced she has been diagnosed with a rare form of dementia.

Earlier this week, her team confirmed the 59-year-old had primary progressive aphasia and frontotemporal dementia (FTD), the same forms actor Bruce Willis has been diagnosed with.

Aphasia is a progressive condition affecting language and communication abilities, while frontotemporal dementia impacts behaviour and cognitive functions, according to the NHS website.

Wendy Williams (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
People Wendy Williams Wendy Williams (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) (Chris Pizzello/Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Williams said in a statement shared by her 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.

“Let me say, wow! Your response has been overwhelming. 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.”

The US star also thanked the Association For Frontotemporal Degeneration for their “kind words of support” and for their efforts in raising awareness of the condition.

She added: “I continue to need personal space and peace to thrive. Please just know that your positivity and encouragement are deeply appreciated.”

On Thursday, her team announced in a statement that she had been diagnosed in 2023 following a “battery of medical tests”.

“Wendy is still able to do many things for herself”, the statement shared to the PR Newswire said.

“Most importantly she maintains her trademark sense of humour 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.”

It also added that the decision to share her diagnosis was made to “advocate for understanding and compassion for Wendy”, as well as raise awareness about aphasia and frontotemporal dementia to “support the thousands of others facing similar circumstances”.

Williams hosted her eponymous show from 2008 until 2022, when it ended due to her health issues.

She was known for her signature phrase “How you doin’?” and interviewed global superstars including Justin Bieber, Dolly Parton and Naomi Campbell.

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