The host was the second of three children born to New Jersey teachers Shirley and Thomas Williams, and she set her sights on mastering the mic early. After graduating high school in 1982, Williams went to Northeastern University where she studied communication with a minor in journalism and had her first radio station internships.
After jumping between DJ gigs at various stations, Williams finally landed a permanent radio morning show host position in 1990 and quickly became a popular New York shock jock. When she left radio to focus on the small screen full-time in 2009, she was syndicated in most major markets across the U.S.
In 2006, Williams made the move to television with VH1’s The Wendy Williams Experience, which revolved around her radio show. However, she moved to daytime TV in 2008 when The Wendy Williams Show started.
After testing positive for COVID-19, Williams delayed the season 13 premiere of the 2021-2022 season of The Wendy Williams Show. She never returned to the gig, with guest hosts filling in on a rotating basis throughout the final season. Sherri Shepherd, who was initially brought in as a temporary host, will take over the time slot with her own daytime show, Sherri, in fall 2022.
In addition to hosting, Williams is a published author with three memoirs to her name. The TV personality also appeared on Dancing With the Stars with pro Tony Dovolani in 2011 and made her Broadway debut as Matron “Mama” Morton in the musical Chicago in 2013.
Williams has been open about her personal struggles, including suffering miscarriages, battling addiction and living with Graves’ disease.
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She filed for divorce from Kevin Hunter in April 2019 after tying the knot in 1999. The split was finalized in January 2020. The exes share one son, Kevin Samuel, born in August 2000.