The Wendy Williams Show aired its 1,500th episode Monday


Just because Wendy Williams doesn’t consider herself a celebrity doesn’t mean the tabloids agree.

Whether scrutinizing her body or her marriage to Kevin Hunter, her husband of 20 years and manager, haters have gossiped about Williams her whole career.

The upshot? Williams, 53, gets to tell her story, herself, in her own time every weekday on her daytime talk show.

“I would rather get in front of a situation than have a situation get in front of me,” she tells PEOPLE. “People talk. Even when they’re supposed to be confidential, they talk. So I would rather talk first.”

“I don’t like the paparazzi, but they have a job to do,” she adds. “So you smile and you keep it moving. The great thing about being on every day and being live is that anything that they out there say, I will come and address in my own voice on the show. And I’m fearless about that. But it’s great to set the record straight on the show.”

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She adds, “I don’t feel like a celebrity, and being celebrated is not my favorite part of this job. My favorite part is going out there and actually doing the show. It’s the best hour of any day, because if I feel like crap, somehow I’m always lifted up. If I feel really happy, I can spread that to other people. And seeing people whoop and holler and the various demographics of people that I see sitting in my audience and where they come from, far and wide … that makes me feel good.”

The Wendy Williams Show aired its 1,500th episode Monday, and the star had never missed a show — a workaholic policy she’s reconsidering after collapsing on-air due to dehydration on Halloween.

“You know, fainting happens. It’s the first time it ever happened to me, and if it’s going to happen, I’m glad it happened on air. Because, you know, let me get a rating out of it then,” she joked.

Still, the online rumors that she’d fallen as a stunt did bother her.

“They thought it was fake,” she says. “Everybody’s a doctor. ‘You need iron.’ ‘I don’t believe any of it.’ ‘She looks sad.’ ‘There’s something going on.’ Oh, shut up.”