How you doin’? Wendy Williams quickly became known as a “shock jockette” during her years as a radio host, a title she has since carried into her career in television.
The New Jersey native began working in the radio industry in the early 1980s, deejaying at stations in the Virgin Islands, Washington, D.C., New York City and Philadelphia. By 1993, Billboard named her the Best On-Air Radio Personality, thanks in part to her candor with listeners. Over time, she amassed a loyal fan base by sharing details about her personal life, opening up about her marriages, miscarriages, plastic surgeries and history with addiction.
In 2008, Williams landed her own daytime talk show, The Wendy Williams Show. It initially aired in only four cities but was picked up nationally in 2009 and eventually internationally. Through the years, the series has traded off with The Ellen DeGeneres Show as the top-rated syndicated talk show with a female host.
Despite the Emmy nominee’s massive success, she has come under fire countless times both as a radio host and a TV host. She infamously conducted a controversial interview with Whitney Houston in 2003 and has mocked celebrities including Joaquin Phoenix and Rob Kardashian in more recent years.
“I am often accused of being the person who says things that people really want to say but maybe are too scared to say it,” she said in a New York Times Magazine profile in August 2019. “Through the grace of God, people have given me permission to say those things for 10 seasons. I get in trouble sometimes, but it’s all good. Actually, I can’t even think of what kind of trouble.”