How Did Wendy Williams Become Famous?

It seems Wendy Williams has been talked more about in the media lately due to her health issues than her insightful talk show she’s been hosting for 11 years. Some people may not realize she’s been on TV this long, which is surprising considering her winning personality and entertaining interviews.

Despite recent reports about Williams suffering from Graves’ Disease and having to live in a sober house, we forget what made her famous in the first place. Let’s go back in time to see how she landed her talk show and what she did before moving to TV.

Some of you new to Williams’ history will be surprised at what she did on radio in the beginning.

Williams’ career start on the radio dial

Radio was already in Williams’ blood when she began her career there 30 years ago. She’d had experience working as a radio DJ for Northeastern University’s radio station in Boston when attending there. Her biggest radio break, though, came from being hired to work at two stations in D.C. and NYC.

After a few years, she’d become a very popular local DJ. Once offered a DJ job at an urban radio station in Philadelphia, she was beginning to reinvent how transparent a radio host could be on air.

This was during the late 1990s when shock jock hosts were already becoming a thing. No one had heard this from a woman host, however. Her openness about discussing her past personal problems on-air made her very popular with local listeners.

Her “confessional” style then switched over to a syndicated radio show she did out of New York during the early 2000s.

A notorious interview with Whitney Houston is still talked about today

Just before Wendy Williams landed a TV deal, she was being deemed a “shock jock”, based considerably on an interview she did with Whitney Houston in 2003. Many people still talk about how wild this interview was, including open profanity and blatant questions about Houston’s drug use.

Not that other talk shows hadn’t already gone this route, even if Williams brought a slightly different style in talking about her own problems. In 2008, she was offered a syndicated talk show to initially air in only four cities.

At the time, even The New York Times found the format refreshing. No wonder the show went wide into syndication just a year later. It’s strange, though, some hadn’t really heard a lot about Williams until she started having odd things happen on her show recently.

Ten years later, Williams started displaying personal problems

All these years later, Williams is suddenly making major headlines for her health issues. The first sign of this was when she fainted live on air during her Halloween 2017 show (ironically while dressed as the Statue of Liberty).

Then her Graves’ Disease diagnosis placed her on a brief leave-of-absence from her program.

Now with news she’s fighting for sobriety from her past drug abuse opens new doors to studying her path to fame. Those early days of radio truly were both revolutionary and shocking in how much candor made it past the FCC.

Of course, concerns are also there about the relationship with her husband and whether this has something to do with her living in a sober house.

Let’s hope Williams doesn’t become famous for tragedy above great interviews

Wendy Williams
Wendy Williams |y Santiago Felipe/Getty Images

Many fans are still concerned about Williams’ welfare. All we can hope for is she and her show don’t keep trending for all the wrong reasons. No one wants her to turn into Whitney Houston with a similar outcome.

Even if being honest is still an insightful approach to interviewing, let’s hope Williams keeps her legacy as a great interviewer rather than someone consumed by fame.