The Wendy Williams Show ended its complicated, controversial, sometimes baffling 13-year-run on TV this week—without an appearance from its complicated, controversial, sometimes baffling star. Wendy Williams, who’s been on a leave of absence from the series since 2021, reportedly exacerbated by a COVID-19 infection in September of that year, and a series of other health and personal problems, did not appear on the show’s finale episode, which was hosted instead by Sherri Shepherd, one of several guest-hosts the show has used to fill in over the past season.
Per Deadline, the episode was instead filled with tributes to Williams, including a montage of her time on the series. The show’s social media account posted a picture of Williams’ empty chair as a tribute to her, and Shepherd—who’ll be taking over the series’ time slot, production, and staff for a “new” series, Sherri—led the show’s crew in a recitation of Williams’ line, “How you doin’?” to finish the show’s run.
Williams has been open about her health problems in the past, especially since a 2018 incident in which she fainted while filming the show. (She’s revealed, among other things, that she suffers from a condition that causes hyperthyroidism.) For the last few weeks she’s been in a battle with bank Wells Fargo, which successfully petitioned a judge to place Williams in a financial conservatorship because she’s the “victim of undue influence and financial exploitation”; Williams has contested these claims on social media, accusing the former manager who’s been put in charge of her finances of misappropriating them.
The show, obviously, elided these issues in its farewell, which instead featured measures of praise and support for its now-former host. That included an appearance from Vanessa Williams, both the first and last guest in Wendy Williams Show history, who had this to say about her:
She was real. She is real — she’s still with us — and she’s resilient. She’s a fighter and she’s real, she was down to earth, she said it like it was. She kept it 100 but she did it with fun. And she was articulate and funny and has all these weird ‘Wendyisms’ that we would grow to love and know. I’m really gonna miss the show and miss her presence. You know she’s unique.