Wendy Williams diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia and dementia

As fans of Wendy Williams prepare to learn more about the former daytime talk show host's life since stepping out of the public eye into the Lifelong documentary, Where is Wendy Williams? her care team reveals that in 2023, she was diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia and frontotemporal dementia.

In a press release sent ThursdayWilliams' care team wrote that they made the former talk show host's diagnosis public in an effort to “correct inaccurate and hurtful rumors about her health.”

“In recent years, questions have occasionally arisen about Wendy's ability to process information and many have speculated about Wendy's condition, especially as she began to become at a loss for words, sometimes act erratically and have difficulty understanding financial transactions,” it said press release. states. It added that the decision to share this news was difficult, but by doing so, Williams and her team hope to raise awareness about aphasia and FTD.

“In 2023, after undergoing a series of medical tests, Wendy was officially diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia and frontotemporal dementia (FTD)…Wendy would not have received confirmation of these diagnoses without the dedication of her current care team, who she chose, and the extraordinary work of the specialists at Weill Cornell Medicine. Receiving a diagnosis has enabled Wendy to receive the medical care she needs,” the statement continued.

“Wendy can still do many things for herself. Most importantly, she maintains her trademark sense of humor and receives the care she needs to ensure she is protected and her needs are met. She appreciates the many kind thoughts and well wishes are sent her way,” the release concludes.

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AND previously spoke with Dr. Allison Reissmember of the Alzheimer's Foundation of America Medical, Scientific and Memory Screening Advisory Board, after action star Bruce Willis used to be diagnosed with FTD last year, and she explained more about the condition.

'It is a group of diseases that have the common factor that the brain loses brain cells and brain cells die [and there is] neurodegeneration,” Reiss said. “We don't understand why, but they are dying in specific areas.”

According to Reiss, the “mixture of different things brought together” leads to “many devastating consequences.”

Ultimately, she said, things “only get harder” as “the problem spreads and gets worse.”

“As it gets worse, you can't ignore it or deny it. You have to adapt to it as best you can,” Reiss said. “… It just progresses and progresses until the end… you lose almost everything, which is so sad and tragic. You can no longer reach the essence of the self at the end.”

“We know so little about it. We only know that frontotemporal dementia is the most common form of dementia in younger people, like 40 to 60 years old, and that some of it is hereditary,” Reiss said. “There are hereditary versions, but usually it's sporadic. It just happens [in] certain people, and we have no reason, and we have no cause, and we have no treatment.”

Reiss noted that frontotemporal dementia ultimately “certainly shortens” a person's lifespan. Still, she encouraged families to maintain hope despite the difficult times.

“For all families, there is real hope that we can do something about this disease,” she said. “…I have so much faith in the research community and the new technologies that we can find things if we put our minds to it and put our energy and effort into it. It's not impossible and I just want to get it done.”

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The news comes two days before the premiere of the four-and-a-half-hour, two-night documentary event that chronicles the events that led to Williams' induction under the supervision of a court-ordered guardian in 2022.

Where is Wendy Williams? claims to be Williams' chance to retell the past from her perspective and share her story on her terms. Production on the documentary began in 2022, to chronicle the next phase of Williams' career and her plans to release a new podcast. But when the star entered a treatment facility, the documentary production was forced to pivot.

As Williams manager, Will Shelby, previously told ET and reaffirms in the documentary that Williams entered a treatment center in April 2023 to cope with her battle with alcohol addiction, a move prompted by her son's concerns about the potentially fatal consequences of her addiction.

In a taste of one Nightline sitting interview of Deborah Roberts shown on Thursday Good morning AmericaAlex Finnie, Williams' cousin, says her aunt saw the project as a way to take ownership of her story.

“I understand that people will watch it, and – some people will watch it and think that. But I will say this first and foremost: My aunt is the executive producer of this documentary,” she says. “And when I finally talked to her, I said to her, 'Aunt Wendy, why do you want to do this?' You know, “You're – you're – you're obviously the health piece, that all needs to be addressed. Is now the right time?” And she said, 'This is the perfect time because I want to own my story.'”

Finnie is featured in the documentary along with other family members, including the star's son, Kevin Hunter Jr., her sister, Wanda Williams, and other family members who rally to support Wendy.

Wanda empathizes with her sister's struggles, saying, “We all make choices in life. We all go through our challenges. She's still a person.”

Meanwhile, Kevin criticizes the court-appointed guardian, claiming he failed to effectively protect the former talk show host. Wanda echoes this sentiment, calling the system “broken.”

“We are her family,” Wanda declares, tears welling up, “and you're telling me I'm unable to care for my sister. What would you do? What should I do?'

Roberts reports that Williams' family claims they don't know where the aforementioned facility is, but they've heard of her and she sounds “much better.”

Finnie tells the Co-anchor of ABC News That the family has been “locked out” by New York State, meaning they cannot help Williams. Still, she says she wishes nothing but the best for her aunt.

“The only person who comes out of this victorious, I hope, is my aunt. I know that… by talking to her, she hopes to move on. [her] career,” she adds. “And my hope for her is that she does what she wants to do, what makes her happy and within the limits of her health.”

Where is Wendy Williams? a two-night, four-and-a-half-hour documentary event, premieres Saturday, February 24 and 25 at 8 PM ET/PT on Lifetime.

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