Archive

ShareThis Page
Wendy Williams’ new hot topic: Helping substance abusers | TribLIVE.com
Celebrity News

Wendy Williams’ new hot topic: Helping substance abusers

Tribune-Review
| Friday, September 21, 2018 3:03 p.m
25841725841715035ab2e63b4aa881993a8ae8d76a86
This Sept. 7, 2018, image taken from video shows talk show host Wendy Williams during an interview in New York. Williams feels lucky to be alive after more than a decade of cocaine abuse and now wants to help others be present in their own lives. She has been giving back through the Hunter Foundation, created with husband Kevin Hunter.

NEW YORK — Talk show diva Wendy Williams feels lucky to be alive after more than a decade of cocaine abuse and now wants to help others be present in their own lives.

Williams has been giving back through the Hunter Foundation, created with husband Kevin Hunter, since 2014. The two recently added a new anti-drug initiative, BeHere.org. Their goal is to raise $10 million in five years to fund such things as drug treatment facilities and research, the latter focused on K2.

“It’s very pretty packaging,” Williams told The Associated Press recently of the popular and potentially deadly synthetic marijuana. “It looks like a pack of Pop Rocks. The kids are smoking it. Adults smoke it. It’s not just a city thing. It’s an easy access thing. You can walk into a bodega and grab a loaf of bread and some K2.”

Williams detailed her own drug abuse in her 2003 memoir, “Wendy’s Got the Heat,” written with Karen Hunter. Williams began, as many do, as a cocaine dabbler. Her habit grew to 3 grams a day over a decade in broadcasting, first in radio. She said she quit on her own without the use of rehab or any assistance.

“I woke up one day and said, you know, I’ve never been arrested. I’ve never shamed my family by being arrested,” Williams told the AP. “My job has never fired me, although they looked in my eyes and they knew I was high, but I was also making great ratings so they chose to just deal with it… I woke up and I said, let me move along with my life.”

Substance abuse and addiction are discussed and dealt with much more openly today, but there’s a long way to go before complete acceptance, she said.

“People are embarrassed. People don’t want to talk about it. People ignore the family member who’s always five sheets into the wind, as they say. For people who get clean, sometimes it’s difficult for them to admit that they were a substance abuser because there’s a stigma,” she said.

Williams recalled some of her own lows. She passed out in the bathroom of a radio station where she was working overnights years ago, returning for a visit recently while promoting her TV show to notice the baseboard she had knocked off the wall was still missing. She had sneaked out of the studio to use cocaine during a long song.

Losing that job, she said, “would have been a big wake up call.”

Getting clean led to bigger things, including her transition from radio to TV.

Williams celebrated her 54th birthday in July and began the 10th season of “The Wendy Williams Show” earlier this month, complete with a fresh take on her theme song done by Fergie.

“I cannot believe that we’ve been on this long,” she said. “Not because we don’t have a good show but because people are so impatient. People are very, very impatient, particularly during daytime TV. It’s a more intimate time to be with people. They’re drinking their coffee, they still have their robe on. You’re the friend who’s invited into their home, but they don’t just invite anyone. They gave me a chance.”

Williams celebrated her birthday with a fundraising bash to support Be Here.

“I feel wonderful and kicky,” she said of the 54-year mark. “I don’t like to lie about my age. I hate that people are still lying about their age.”

Leanne Italie is an Associated Press entertainment writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.