Updated February 23rd, 2024 at 11:53 IST

Wendy Williams Diagnosed With Same Form Of Dementia As Bruce Willis - Team Issues Statement

The statement said that Wendy Williams’ diagnoses of aphasia and frontotemporal dementia “have already presented significant hurdles in Wendy’s life.”

Wendy Williams | Image:X
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Former talk show host Wendy Williams has been diagnosed with the same form of dementia that actor Bruce Willis has, a statement released Thursday on behalf of her caretakers says. The statement said the 59-year-old’s diagnoses of primary progressive aphasia and frontotemporal dementia “have already presented significant hurdles in Wendy’s life” and have behavioral and cognitive impacts.

Wendy Williams' team discloses her dementia diagnosis

“Wendy is still able to do many things for herself. Most importantly she maintains her trademark sense of humor and is receiving the care she requires to make sure she is protected and that her needs are addressed. She is appreciative of the many kind thoughts and good wishes being sent her way,” the statement attributed to her care team said.

 

The announcement came a day after a cover story in People magazine quoted Williams’ family about the nature of her struggles, ahead of a Lifetime documentary set to air Saturday.

The article said the Lifetime documentary crew, which set out in 2022 to chronicle Williams’ comeback, stopped filming in April 2023 when she entered a facility to treat “cognitive issues.” Her son says in the documentary that doctors had connected her cognitive issues to alcohol use, People reported.

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Her family told People they don’t know where she is and cannot call her themselves, but she can call them.

 

What is frontotemporal dementia? 

The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration describes FTD as a group of brain disorders caused by degeneration of the frontal and/or temporal lobes of the brain that affects behavior, language and movement. Aphasia, a brain disorder that can lead to problems speaking or understanding words, can be a symptom of it. 

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FTD usually occurs in people in their 40s, 50s, and early 60s. It can affect a person’s personality, causing a loss of inhibition or inappropriate behavior. It is sometimes mistaken for depression or bipolar disorder, and can take years to diagnose.

There are no treatments to slow or stop the disease, but some interventions can help manage symptoms.

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Williams rose to fame in part due to her no-boundaries approach to her life, which included sharing personal details about her health, plastic surgery, and cocaine addiction — the subject of her 2003 memoir, Wendy’s Got the Heat.

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A hallmark of The Wendy Williams Show, which competed for viewers with Ellen DeGeneres’ show, was her signature phrase, “How you doin’?” She transitioned to television after a successful career as a radio host, known for her hot takes on gossip and skewering of celebrities, including a contentious 2003 interview with Whitney Houston.

(with inputs from AP)

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Published February 23rd, 2024 at 11:53 IST