‘Wheel of Fortune’ Host Pat Sajak and Vanna White Pre-Show Ritual Is Boozy

For almost 40 years, Wheel of Fortune has been a popular part of the game show world. No one knows for sure what makes the show such an enduring classic, but at least part of the credit goes to its hosts, Pat Sajak and Vanna White. Their easy camaraderie and lighthearted conversation are a big part of the show. It turns out that all while America has been enjoying the banter between White and Sajak, the pair have been enjoying their own pre-show fun. 

The fun of ‘Wheel of Fortune’

Pat Sajak and Vanna White
Pat Sajak and Vanna White | Matthew Eisman/WireImage

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The premise of the show sounds like an unlikely way to captivate modern viewers, but it’s clearly stood the test of time. Contestants try to solve a word puzzle by guessing what consonants might be in a phrase. They spin the famous wheel to see how much money they get for a correct letter guess, and they can buy vowels to help them figure it out.

They can win money and prizes, such as vacations or cars. Three people have won amounts over a million dollars on the show, making it even more exciting. 

In a world with a seemingly endless supply of word game apps, people still tune in to see the excitement on Wheel of Fortune. Part of the reason for that may be the fun of watching contestants make wildly wrong guesses. But a big part of the show’s success is owed to the popular hosts. 

Undeniable chemistry for years 

Sajak has been the host of Wheel of Fortune since the beginning, and White joined him a year after he started. Over the years, the two have developed a seamless partnership. Sajak even coordinates his ties with White’s famous dresses.

When Sajak recently had a medical emergency that kept him from being able to be there to record the show, White stepped in for him. Sajak was impressed with her bravery and professionalism, but although White did a great job, viewers missed seeing the two of them together. 

Their chemistry and level of comfort with each other are so obvious that people have even speculated that they might be in a romantic relationship. They aren’t, but that doesn’t mean they’ve never engaged in a little non-professional fun together — just not the romantic kind. 

A tipsy pre-show ritual

In 2012, during an interview on ESPN2, Sajak admitted that during the early years he and White used to drink before taping shows. The schedule gave them two hours of downtime, so the pair would go to a nearby Mexican restaurant to pass the time. One of their favorite things to indulge in while at the restaurant was a margarita or two. 

According to Sajak, the average number of drinks they enjoyed was four, but sometimes they would have as many as six. He was asked if he thought being tipsy made for good shows, and he responded with his classic dry wit, “well I had a lot of fun.” 

These days the two of them stay away from the booze before shows. Sajak says that the show is different these days and that he’d most likely “keel over” if he tried drinking before taping today. While they seem to be still having a good time, these days the shows are dry. 

It looks like Sajak may retire from his duties as host in the next few years, and White will probably step down at the same time. Although they may have grown out of the habit of pre-show cocktails, retirement opens up a whole new world of possibilities for them as drinking buddies.