Wendy Williams Says She’s ‘Living Proof’ That ‘There Is Hope’ for Addicts and Substance Abusers
Wendy Williams says she’s “living proof” that “there is hope” for those who battle addiction.
In a national public service announcement for The Hunter Foundation and T.R.U.S.T., Williams — who has long battled substance abuse — encouraged those who struggle with drug addiction or substance abuse, or know people that do, to seek help.
“Hi, I’m Wendy Williams Hunter,” she begins the PSA. “My organization, The Hunter Foundation, recently launched a nationwide hotline to offer treatment resources for you if you are a drug addict or substance abuser. 1-888-5HUNTER.”
“The calls are being answered by specially-trained, certified recovery coaches,” she continues. “They’re very smart. They conduct screenings to determine your needs. The substance abuse will be taken care of.”
Adds Williams, 54: “We will provide you with referrals for long- or short-term treatment at facilities all around the world: detox, rehab, sober living and outpatient centers everywhere, nationwide.”
“If you’re an addict or a substance abuser, don’t be ashamed — help is here for you or a family member or a loved one. Call. Don’t be ashamed, there is hope. I’m living proof,” she concludes before directing viewers to the foundation’s website.
Since the hotline launched March 11, it has received 10,000 inbound calls.
“10,000 calls in three weeks is remarkable! We’re doing our part by getting the word out,” Williams said in a statement. “All it takes is one call to get on the right path. We’re here to help.”
The PSA comes at a trying time for the Wendy Williams Show host, whose program has been on a pre-scheduled, week-long break.
She was absent from her eponymous daytime talk program from January until March 4, attributing the lengthy hiatus to a fractured shoulder and her battle with a Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid.
Upon her return to the show, Williams said she was “doing better” and explained that she’d been off the air since the holidays due to her medical problems and to spend more time to heal with her husband, Kevin Hunter, and her son, Kevin Jr. She pointedly shut down rumors of marital trouble, calling Hunter her “best friend” and “lover.”
“I want to shout-out to my husband. I’m still wearing my ring,” she said. “Believe me you, when you’ve been with somebody for 28 years, married for 25 years … we know each other. … I know what you’ve been seeing … but I’m still very much in love with my husband and anyone who’s been married … you know.”
“Marriages have ebbs and flows, marriage isn’t easy. And don’t ask me about mine until you see this gone,” she added, gesturing to her wedding ring. “And it ain’t going anywhere, not in this lifetime.”
Two weeks later, Williams, who has struggled with a cocaine addiction in the past, revealed on-air that she was living in a sober house. The March 19 announcement came after she announced that her family’s Hunter Foundation had partnered with T.R.U.S.T., an organization dedicated to building a bridge from treatment to long-term recovery, to launch the national resource hotline.
Last week, Williams was reportedly hospitalized. According to the Daily Mail, she was found drunk on Monday after checking herself out of the sober living house and was taken to a hospital to sober up. However, she continued to host her show live.
A representative for Williams did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment and Williams did not address the reported hospitalization on her show beyond commenting last Friday that she’d had a “long week.”
The Wendy Williams Show is on a pre-scheduled vacation this week and is set to resume Monday.
On Tuesday, Hunter told E! News that he and Williams are “doing fine.”
“Wendy and the family are doing fine,” he said. “We are focused on her health and sobriety, and that is it.”
He added that he is focused on the couple’s foundation, pointing out that their addiction hotline “has placed over 200 people in treatment facilities in the last two weeks since it began.”
“We are turning the tables on this thing called addiction and turning Wendy’s bout into a positive,” he said.
He also recently splurged on a special piece of jewelry for the TV personality. A spokesperson for Flawless Jewelry in New York City confirmed to Page Six that Hunter upgraded Williams’ Franck Muller watch by adding 25 carats worth of diamonds to the band and the face. The piece is now valued at $40,000.
The Wendy Williams Show airs weekdays (check local listings).
If you or someone you know is in need of help, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.