99% of the time, celebrity stories are entertaining to their core, but that troublesome 1% is like car crash news: you know you shouldn’t, but you can’t seem to look away.
That is the most accurate way to preface the Wendy Williams news story which has dominated the American celebrity news cycle for the best part of seven months.
Williams, a New York-based television host, fronts her eponymous daytime chat show, in which she incorporates her no-nonsense attitude to popular culture topics to the joy of her 1.8 million daily viewers. She isn’t Ellen DeGeneres or Oprah, but her audience impact isn’t to be sniffed at and to many, she is the daytime tv queen.
For months, there has been speculation about the state of Wendy’s 22-year marriage to Kevin Hunter, with whom she has an 18-year-old son, and who also works as her long-standing manager. Back in December, the show went off air for two weeks over the Christmas period and she has intermittently taken time off throughout the season.
In January, announced she would be taking an extended break for thyroid problems and Graves Disease, an autoimmune disorder, but the show must go on, so stand-in hosts were recruited and repeats were aired carrying the show through another season. Her health status was of serious concern as she fainted during October’s Halloween episode, but there were persistent rumours that her troubles went even deeper than her health.
At the time, it was reported that Hunter was having an affair with a woman with whom he lived and they were having a baby. Now, it’s reported that the relationship has been going on for 15 years.
Divorce under any circumstance is difficult, but her professional and personal business was so intertwined with his role as manager and unofficial handler, making the split even more complicated. He was essentially the gatekeeper to one of the busiest women on television and together, they have a net worth of $60m.
In December, she suffered a hairline fracture to her right shoulder, which contributed to her time away from the show and led to a relapse in her sobriety. She has been vocal in the past about her struggles with cocaine addiction and she recently confirmed the reports that she was living in a sober house, seeking treatment for her alcohol and prescription drug addiction.
“You wear a different mask when you’re out here. Everybody has things in their life that they’re not ready to share with the world,” she told viewers in March. “Addressing my sobriety, my addiction, head-on has really helped me sort out every single compartment of my life. I have a commitment to me and my son to come out of here better, stronger and faster than ever.”
Four months ago, she reportedly hired a private investigator to validate fresh claims that her husband had a pregnant mistress, which was the catalyst for her drinking; that, coupled with the pain medication she was taking for her fracture, she found herself relying on the combination before seeking treatment.
Many speculated about the status of her relationship with Hunter, who was still pictured driving her to the sober house from the studio as recent as two weeks ago, but soon after, she announced her intention to divorce after learning how long the affair had lasted.
“Wendy is telling people she had no idea he had been having an affair, but when she found out the details, it turned out he had been seeing the woman he had a baby with for 15-16 years,” a source told People. “That made her realise it was time to move forward with her life. Seek treatment and move on. She’s not taking him back.”
On Monday, she announced that she would be moving out of the sober house next week and living on her own once again as she prepares for her divorce. “I have to tell you, you know, I’ve been dealing with issues with addiction, alcoholism, and I have a whole new life that I planned for myself and my son,” she said.
“Believe me you, when you lay in a room with no TV and four grey walls all day….this is my life in the sober house.. “It’s one of the best things, honestly, that could have ever happened to me.”
Last week, Williams announced her intention to divorce and within a few days, he was fired as an executive producer from her tv show and he released a statement apologising for his actions.
“28 years ago I met an amazing woman: Wendy Williams. At the time, I didn’t realize that she would not only become my wife, but would also change the face of entertainment and the world,” he wrote on Instagram.
“I am not proud of my recent actions and take full accountability and apologize to my wife, my family and her amazing fans. I am going through a time of self-reflection and am trying to right some wrongs.”
The last number of days have been spent focusing on different angles with sources coming out of the woodwork, all representing #TeamWendy as she attempts to rebuild her life with overwhelming support from the public.