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Wendy Williams Diagnosed With The Same Neurological Conditions As Bruce Willis 

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Michael Tran/FilmMagic

Wendy Williams, the former host of the popular daytime talk show The Wendy Williams Show, has revealed that she has been diagnosed with aphasia and dementia, two neurological conditions that affect her language and cognitive abilities.

In a press release issued by her team on Thursday (Feb. 22), Williams said that she decided to share her diagnosis “to correct inaccurate and hurtful rumors about her health” and “to raise awareness about aphasia and frontotemporal dementia and support the thousands of others facing similar circumstances”.

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According to the Mayo Clinic, aphasia is a syndrome that impairs a person’s ability to communicate, causing difficulties with speaking, writing, reading, and understanding language. Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a group of disorders that damage the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, leading to changes in behavior, personality, and language.

“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 press release states.

“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,” the release added.

Williams, 59, was officially diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia and FTD in 2023, after undergoing a battery of medical tests. Primary progressive aphasia is a type of aphasia that worsens over time, and FTD is the most common cause of dementia in people under 60.

Williams’ team said that her diagnosis has enabled her to receive the medical care she requires, and that she is still able to do many things for herself. They also said that she maintains her trademark sense of humor and is receiving the care she needs to make sure she is protected and that her needs are addressed.

Williams’ health struggles have been a subject of public speculation for years, as she has dealt with various issues on and off the air. In 2017, she fainted during a live Halloween episode of her show, which she attributed to overheating and low electrolytes. In 2018, she announced that she had Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid gland. In 2019, she revealed that she had lymphedema, a condition that causes swelling in the limbs due to fluid buildup.

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In 2021, Williams took a leave of absence from her show due to health complications, and in 2022, it was announced that the show was ending after 13 seasons. Williams has also faced personal challenges, such as her divorce from her husband of 21 years, Kevin Hunter, in 2019, and her substance abuse issues, which she has been open about.

Williams is not the only celebrity who has been diagnosed with aphasia and FTD. Actor Bruce Willis was diagnosed with the same conditions in 2022. Willis has been largely out of the public eye since then, and his family has asked for privacy and respect.

Williams’ team said that they hope that by sharing her diagnosis, they can help reduce the stigma and increase the empathy for people living with aphasia and FTD. They also said that Williams is grateful for the support and kindness of her fans and friends.

Williams’ story will be featured in a two-part documentary titled Where is Wendy Williams?, which will air on Lifetime on Feb. 24 and Feb. 25. The documentary will explore Williams’ physical and mental health journey, as well as her career and personal life.

Her sister, Wanda Finnie, recently told People magazine that Williams is now in a much better place and is in greater shape than what is depicted in the documentary.

“I spoke with her yesterday and I speak with her very regularly when she reaches out to me,” Wanda said. “She is, from what I understand, in a wellness, healing type of environment…We cannot reach out to her, but she can reach out to us. And she is in a healing place emotionally. She’s not the person that you see in this film.”

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