Wendy Williams Diagnosed With Dementia, Caregivers Say

LOS ANGELES - OCT 17: Wendy Williams at the Wendy Williams Star Ceremony on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on October 17, 2019 in Los Angeles, CA (Credit: Photo by Jean_Nelson/Deposit Photos)

Wendy Williams has been diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia and frontotemporal dementia (FTD), the former talk show host’s care team said in a press release Thursday.

Aphasia is a condition affecting speech, how you write and understand spoken and written language, according to the Mayo Clinic. Frontotemporal dementia is a progressive disorder impacting behavior and cognitive functions.

Williams, 59, was diagnosed in 2023 after undergoing a round of medical tests, according to her caregivers.

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“As Wendy’s fans are aware, in the past she has been open with the public about her medical struggles with Graves’ Disease and Lymphedema as well as other significant challenges related to her health,” the care team said in a statement. “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.”

Williams was diagnosed by specialists at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, the press release said.

Her family members recently went public and told People they’re being kept in the dark about Williams’ treatment and questioned having outsiders look after their loved one. However, her care team insists they’re looking out for Williams’ best interests and said she chose her own caregivers.

Despite her health struggles, Williams’ team said she remains hopeful.

“Wendy is still able to do many things for herself,” the statement said. “Most importantly she maintains her trademark sense of humor and is receiving the care she requires to make sure she is protected and that her needs are addressed.”

The media mogul’s team said they released details about her diagnosis in an effort to raise awareness, and Williams is “appreciative of the many kind thoughts and good wishes being sent her way.”

In March 2022, Bruce Willis was diagnosed with the same type of dementia.

News of Williams’ diagnosis came two days before Lifetime airs a shocking docuseries on her personal and financial struggles.

Sources told People the Lifetime documentary began filming in August 2022. The project was said to have initially been intended to document Williams’ comeback after her syndicated daytime talk show was canceled in June 2022, but the focus changed when the crew filmed her “in the throes of alcohol addiction.” The Lifetime crew stopped filming in April 2023, when Williams entered a treatment facility.

The two-night docuseries titled Where is Wendy Williams? premieres Saturday, Feb. 24 and 25 at 8pm ET/PT on Lifetime.