Wendy Williams ‘thanks fans for support’ after revealing dementia diagnosis

Wendy Williams has shared her “immense gratitude” for the support she’s received after announcing her dementia diagnosis.

The 59-year-old former talk show host expressed her appreciation for her fans in a statement on 23 February, shared with People. “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 (FTD). Let me say, wow! Your response has been overwhelming,” she said. “The messages shared with me have touched me, reminding me of the power of unity and the need for compassion.”

She then described her hope “that others with FTD may benefit from” her story, before asking her fans to respect her privacy at this time.

“I want to also thank the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration for their kind words of support and their extraordinary efforts to raise awareness of FTD,” Williams added. “I continue to need personal space and peace to thrive. Please just know that your positivity and encouragement are deeply appreciated.”

Williams’ comments came one day after her team announced that she was diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia and frontotemporal dementia, as she “underwent a battery of medical tests” in 2023.

“Aphasia, a condition affecting language and communication abilities, and frontotemporal dementia, a progressive disorder impacting behaviour and cognitive functions, have already presented significant hurdles in Wendy’s life,” a press release from Williams’ representatives said.

The statement also hit back at speculation about Williams’ health, with her care team noting that they were sharing “this very personal update” to “correct inaccurate and hurtful rumours” about her.

After describing some of the medical issues that Williams has discussed in the past, including struggles with Graves’ Disease and Lymphedema, her team further addressed the recent questions regarding her cognitive skills.

“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,” the press release added.

On 21 February, Williams’ sister, Wanda, first told People that Wendy was in a facility where she was being treated for her cognitive issues. “She is, from what I understand, in a wellness, healing type of environment…We cannot reach out to her, but she can reach out to us,” Wanda said. “And she is in a healing place emotionally. She’s not the person that you see in this film.”

Williams’ latest update also comes ahead of the premiere of her two-part Lifetime documentary, Where is Wendy Williams? The documentary, which sheds light on William’s story and health challenges, will be available to watch on the Lifetime channel on 24 and 25 February at 5 pm PT/8 pm ET on both days.

In addition, her health announcement came one year after Bruce Willis revealed that he’d been diagnosed with FTD. In a statement with the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration, Willis’s family revealed that his health condition had progressed, writing: “We now have a more specific diagnosis: frontotemporal dementia. Unfortunately, challenges with communication are just one symptom of the disease Bruce faces. While this is painful, it is a relief to finally have a clear diagnosis.”

Back in March 2022, the Die Hard star’s family first announced he would be “stepping away” from acting after he had been diagnosed with aphasia, which was “impacting his cognitive abilities”.

Since then, Willis’ wife, Emma Heming Willis, has been keeping fans updated on her husband’s condition on social media. She’s also raised awareness about living with dementia and sharing her experiences of caring for a loved one with the condition. She will be releasing a book in 2025, which is a guide to caregiving that draws on her experiences of caring for Willis.