Wendy Williams’ career has seen many ups and downs. Best-known for being the host of the syndicated TV talk show, The Wendy Williams Show, the former radio DJ has published multiple books, been inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame, and even had two TV movies made about her life. But the 57-year-old entertainer has also had her fair share of struggles, including battles with addiction and chronic illness. Through it all, Wendy Williams’ fortune has remained (mostly) intact, thanks to smart financial planning and lots of hard work. Here’s a look at Wendy Williams’ net worth in 2021.
Wendy Williams Has Written Several Books
Wendy Williams is the author of seven books, including her 2003 autobiography, Wendy’s Got the Heat. Co-written by New York Daily News journalist Karen Hunter, the bestselling bio covers some of Williams’ toughest life challenges up until that time, including childhood trauma and drug addiction. In 2004, she published The Wendy Williams Experience, a gossip-driven look at the lives of some of the era’s biggest stars. Close to a decade later, she released the self-help/advice book, Ask Wendy: Straight-Up Advice for All the Drama In Your Life.
Williams is also the author of four fiction titles, three of which are part of a semi-autobiographical series about a radio shock jock named Ritz Harper (Drama Is Her Middle Name, Is the Bitch Dead, or What?, and Ritz Harper Goes to Hollywood). In 2014, Williams wrote a romance novel called Hold Me in Contempt.
As successful as she’s been in the publishing world, Williams says she never expected to be a bestselling author. “My dad is the author in my family,” she said in a 2013 interview with the Wall Street Journal. “He was an English teacher, a school principal, and eventually, a professor of English at a university. He’s now retired and lives with my mom in Florida, but he is constantly trying to write the great American novel. So he’s the one, he’s the writer. I fell into it through having a successful TV career.”
She’s Best Known As A Radio And TV Personality
Williams kicked off her career as a radio disc jockey soon after graduating from college. After working a number of different jobs at various stations around the country, the aspiring star got her big break in 1990 as a morning show host on an urban contemporary station in New York City. Williams quickly became a popular and highly-rated local radio personality, known for her penchant for gossiping about rappers and big-name celebs.
By 2008, Williams’ radio show was syndicated across the country. That summer, she was given her own TV talk show, The Wendy Williams Show, which was a huge success. The following year, the rising star left radio to pursue her TV career full-time. In addition to her eponymous show, which averages over a million viewers an episode, Williams has hosted and appeared on a number of game shows and reality series, including Dancing With the Stars, The Masked Singer, Celebrities Undercover, and Death By Gossip with Wendy Williams.
When it comes to her role as a radio and TV talk show host, Williams says she takes her job very seriously. “It takes a lot to be invited into people’s cars on the radio. It’s a very intimate place to talk to people,” she said in a 2021 interview. “And I always honored that. And it takes a lot to be on television every day, even more because daytime TV is a very special place to be.”
Wendy Williams’ Acting Gigs
In addition to talk radio and hosting, Wendy Williams has tried her hand at acting. She’s appeared in cameo roles both as herself and as fictional characters on TV shows such as Martin, One Life to Live, 30 Rock, Drop Dead Diva, and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. She’s also been in a number of feature films, including Think Like a Man, Think Like a Man Too, World War Z, and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates.
In 2013, the former shock jock had a brief stint on Broadway, starring in a seven-week run of the hit musical Chicago.
Williams had never performed live theater before and admitted it took her some time to get into the swing of things. “In the beginning, I was having a difficult time remembering lines,” she said in an interview with Broadway World. “[But] who says no to Broadway? They called and of course I said yes. And then I figured out how I was going to do it — after I said yes.”
While her forays into acting have been successful, Williams says she has ambitions other than acting when it comes to Hollywood. “I would like to produce more stuff,” she told Entertainment Tonight. “And that stuff would be for other people to star in, not me — I’m not an actress. I liked being part of the process of writing, and also I would like to sit in that director’s chair one day. Just to be an associate director or something.”
Life Hasn’t Always Been Easy For Williams
Never one to shy away from real talk, Williams has been open about her personal struggles. Twice divorced, she watched her second marriage to producer and manager Kevin Hunter crumble as her TV career took off. “My divorce was about a good 10 years in the making,” Williams said in an interview with Essence magazine. “I’ll be honest with you. With every year, the talk show would get bigger and better, and my husband would get meaner to the world. I didn’t like who I was seeing.”
To make matters worse, Hunter ended up cheating on his talk show wife and fathering a child with his mistress. Williams filed for divorce in 2019, after more than 21 years of marriage.
Williams is also no stranger to chronic illness. She’s suffered from the autoimmune disorder Graves disease since 1999 and was diagnosed with lymphedema (a condition that causes swelling in the limbs due to lymphatic system blockage) in 2019. In September 2021, she disclosed that she was struggling with “ongoing health issues” and a COVID-19 diagnosis that forced her to cancel promotional appearances for the 13th season of The Wendy Williams Show.
On top of all this, the self-described “Queen of All Media” battled a decade-long drug addiction, which she said forced her to live a double life while her star was on the rise. “I was a functioning addict,” Williams told Entertainment Tonight in 2018. “I’d report to work on time, and I’d walk in and all my co-workers, including my bosses, would know, but since I would have my headphones on and walk in the studio and [they] wouldn’t fire me because I was making ratings.”
In early 2019, after a long period of sobriety, Williams revealed on her show that she had suffered a relapse and was seeking treatment for her addiction while living in a sober house. Reportedly, she moved out of the sober house later that spring has maintained her sobriety ever since.
Wendy Williams’ Net Worth
Fortunately for the talk show host, her personal struggles have not seemed to affect her net worth too much. While Williams has never publicly verified the value of her fortune, both Wealthy Gorilla and Celebrity Net Worth estimate her to be worth approximately $40 million.
Reportedly, her TV talk show salary is about $10 million per year, which breaks down to around $55,000 per episode. Her bestselling books also bring in cash, as do a number of entrepreneurial pursuits, including an online wig collection and clothing and accessory line partnerships with shopping channel HSN.
And let’s not forget the reported $15 million she makes a year from her production company, Wendy Williams Productions (WWP). Or the hefty paychecks she earned as executive producer of the two Lifetime movies about her life, Wendy Williams: The Movie and Wendy Williams: What A Mess! Add it all up and you’ve got a pretty substantial sum.
The one thing that may have negatively affected Williams’ fortune was her divorce. According to Page Six, the Billboard Radio Award winner was ordered to pay Hunter $250,000 following their split so he could “secure new living arrangements.” And while the details of their divorce settlement were not publicly disclosed, experts guess it was messy. The pair reportedly did not have a prenup and had plenty of community property after 21 years of marriage — including WWP, which they founded together.
Nevertheless, we’re pretty sure Williams was able to take it all in stride. She even said as much in an interview with Essence, admitting: “I have the privilege of having a thriving career. That was a blessing and a curse. There came a point early that I knew, ‘OK, I’m going to have to pay alimony.’ But I can handle that. It’s comical to me almost.”