Vanna White confesses that bidding farewell to “Wheel of Fortune” crossed her mind when Pat Sajak announced his departure in June
Wheel of Fortune hosts Pat Sajak and Vanna White have been entertaining American homes for over 40 years. However, when Sajak announced his departure from the show back in June, White reportedly contemplated the idea of leaving alongside him.
Even though Sajak, 76, announced that the current 44th season would be his last, White, 66, has since renewed her contract and will stay through the 2025-2026 season. However, according to the latest issue of PEOPLE, White heavily considered her considered her future with the show after the announcement.
Ryan Seacrest has been named as the incoming replacement for Sajak. White thinks the show will be quite “different” ahead of the change.
“Of course it’s a thought,” she said. “It’s like, ‘Well, wait, if you’re leaving, what am I going to do? How can I stay without you?’ It was a very hard decision for me to make, because it definitely crossed my mind. It’s like, ‘I just don’t know if I can do this without you,’ but I thought about it and I’m not ready to retire, so I am staying on.”
“I know Ryan — he is professional, he’s good at what he does, he’s kind,” White says. “I think it’s going to be good. He’s such a nice guy and he loves what he does. He said, ‘Look, I am not replacing Pat. I’m not going in to try to fill Pat’s shoes. No one can ever replace him.’ He says he’s coming in to do a good job and to keep the show going, and I’m looking forward to working with him.”
Fans are saddened by Sajak’s pending departure. White, however, wants to simply focus on the current season which she says will be “bittersweet.”
“We are celebrating this year with Pat and all the good times, all the 41 years, all the memories,” she says. “We are going to be doing some incredible stuff to say goodbye to Pat at the end of the season. We have almost a whole season to do that, to just look at all the great things that we’ve done together. I’m so looking forward to that. It’s going to be very sad.”
White adds that she and Sajak “get along tremendously, so I am so going to miss him.”
“I mean, I know everything about him,” White continues. “He knows everything about me. I can tell when he’s walking up the stairs. Our dressing rooms are on the second floor. I can hear in his footsteps when he is walking up the steps, if he’s going to be in a good mood or not. Forty-one years together, you know each other so well. It definitely is bittersweet, but he’s decided to retire and I have to accept that.”
White expressed feeling proud of her decision to stay. Rumors began to circulate about her leaving the show as well, and when she wasn’t present for a few episodes, fans began to worry. However, White has since returned after taking some much needed time off to recover from COVID. Still, White calls “being on TV for so long and hopefully giving people a good feeling” her greatest accomplishment so far.
“There’s so much negative stuff out there,” she says. “I feel like I just want to give people a good feeling and if everybody could be at peace, and be happy, and be kind to each other, that’s been the most proudest for me being on TV, to be able to try to spread that good feeling.”
In another recent article, White also tackled speculation about her own daughter possibly stepping into her shoes on the show. While White acknowledges the potential, she’s determined to ride the wave of change and stay in the game for as long as she can!
We understand this was a tough decision for White, but we’re all eager to see the fresh direction the show is heading in!
Will you still be tuning in after Sajak leaves?