Wendy Williams in Treatment Facility for ‘Cognitive Issues,’ Family Members Say

Where is Wendy Williams? documentary. (Credit: Lifetime)

Just days before Lifetime airs a documentary about Wendy Williams and her recent struggles, the former talk show host’s family has revealed she’s in a facility undergoing treatment for “cognitive issues.”

Williams’ sister Wanda Finnie and her niece Alex Finnie spoke with People for a cover story published on Wednesday, Feb. 21.

“She is, from what I understand, in a wellness, healing type of environment,” Wanda said.

While Wanda has regular phone conversations with Williams, she said family members are unsure where the TV star is being treated because a court-appointed legal guardian is in charge of decisions involving her finances and health.

“We cannot reach out to her, but she can reach out to us. And she is in a healing place emotionally. She’s not the person that you see in this film,” Wanda said about the Lifetime documentary.

Related StoryWendy Williams Spends Her Days in Bed, Drinking Vodka, Lifetime Documentary Reveals

The four-and-a-half-hour film titled Where is Wendy Williams? debuts this weekend.

The trailer was released earlier this month and shows Williams struggling to walk, dealing with memory issues and appearing to abuse alcohol.

“She was put in front of a judge and given a guardian. That was when they took her away from us,” Williams’ son Kevin Hunter Jr. shares in the preview.

Her driver says in the film she is struggling with memory issues.

“I don’t know what the hell is going on,” the driver states. “I think she’s losing memory. She doesn’t know who I am sometimes.”

Her son adds that doctors say the memory problems are related to alcohol use.

“We’ve all seen the images over the last few months — and, really, few years — of what has seemed like a spiral for my aunt,” Williams’ niece Alex told People. “It was shocking and heartbreaking to see her in this state.”

People also spoke to sources from The Wendy Williams Show, who said the daytime diva struggled with drinking during production.

“She would be drunk on air,” an unnamed show insider said.

Suzanne Bass, co-executive producer of the program, went on the record and said the staff was aware that something wasn’t right.

“I knew she was struggling. How could I not?” said Bass. “As her situation grew worse, she pushed us away.”

The Wendy Williams Show aired its final episode in June 2022, after 13 seasons.

Related StoryThe Sad End to ‘The Wendy Williams Show’ Revealed in New Report

As she dealt with health problems, including the autoimmune disorder Graves’ disease, Williams didn’t appear on a single episode of the show’s final season.

Instead, producers enlisted several guest hosts including actress Leah Remini, actor Michael Rapaport, rappers Fat Joe and Remy Ma, actress Vivica A. Fox, comedian Bill Bellamy, former talk show host Jerry Springer, comedian Sherri Shepherd. After emerging as a fan favorite, Shepherd was given her own show.

Sources told People the Lifetime documentary began filming in August 2022. The project was said to have initially been intended to document Williams’ comeback and the launch of her new podcast. The focus changed when the crew filmed her “in the throes of alcohol addiction.”

Williams is an executive producer on the film, along with Kevin Hunter Jr, Will Selby, Tara Long, Mark Ford, Pat Lambert, Brie Miranda Bryant, and Erica Hanson who also serves as showrunner.

The Lifetime crew stopped filming in April 2023, when Williams entered the treatment facility.

Family members said she is still there and the only person who has direct access to her is the court-appointed legal guardian.

“The people who love her cannot see her,” said Williams’ sister Wanda. “I think the big [question] is: How the hell did we get here?”

Where is Wendy Williams? premieres Saturday, Feb. 24 and 25 at 8pm ET/PT on Lifetime.