Wendy Williams diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia, dementia

Wendy Williams

Wendy Williams’s care team has announced that she has been diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia and dementia.

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The team gave the update through PR Newswire “to correct inaccurate and hurtful rumors about her health.”

She has already shared her other medical issues such as Graves’ Disease and lymphedema.

Williams was diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) in 2023, the news release said.

A documentary called “Where is Wendy Williams?” is scheduled to be released on Saturday on Lifetime, the “Today” show reported.

Filming had started in 2022 to not only document her career but also a new podcast she had plans to launch but had to pause in 2023 when she went to a treatment facility for “cognitive issues,” People magazine reported.

The press release announcing her condition said, “Over the past few years, questions have been raised at times about Wendy’s ability to process information and many have speculated about Wendy’s condition, particularly when she began to lose words, act erratically at times, and have difficulty understanding financial transactions.”

The team added, “The decision to share this news was difficult and made after careful consideration, not only to advocate for understanding and compassion for Wendy, but to raise awareness about aphasia and frontotemporal dementia and support the thousands of others facing similar circumstances. Unfortunately, many individuals diagnosed with aphasia and frontotemporal dementia face stigma and misunderstanding, particularly when they begin to exhibit behavioral changes but have not yet received a diagnosis.”

Williams had hosted her self-titled talk show “The Wendy Williams Show” from 2008 to 2021, when she stepped down due to Graves’ Disease and lymphedema. The show was eventually canceled, airing the final episode in June 2022, Variety reported.

Actor Bruce Willis was also diagnosed with FTD, announcing the health news last year, Variety reported.

FTD, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, “is a group of disorders that occur when nerve cells in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain are lost. This causes the lobes to shrink. FTD can affect behavior, personality, language, and movement.”

There are several types of FTD, the frontal which affects behavior and personality and the primary progressive aphasia form that affects communication.

Primary progressive aphasia has two variations: progressive nonfluent aphasia, affecting the ability to speak and semantic dementia, affecting the ability to understand and use language.

There is another form of FTD, which is less common, that causes symptoms similar to Parkinson’s or Lou Gehrig’s disease, Johns Hopkins said.

The cause of FTD is not known.

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