Ali Wentworth Defends Husband George Stephanopoulos After He Is Seen Without a Coronavirus Mask

Both George Stephanopoulos and Ali Wentworth tested positive for COVID-19, though they had very different battles with the virus

Ali Wentworth is standing by her husband George Stephanopoulos after the ABC newscaster came under fire for seemingly ignoring mandates to wear a face mask in public.

The comedian remotely appeared on Friday's episode of The Wendy Williams Show, where she clapped back at critics questioning her spouse's safety amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"Why is everybody going after my husband?" Wentworth said, pointing to a photo of Stephanopoulos that was snapped showing him "walking on a vacant road" with "nobody around" while he was wearing his mask around his neck and talking on the phone.

"Nobody talks about the fact that we are helping all these underserved kids, we're helping all these people, George is doing the news, we're donating ..." Wentworth said. "It's like, 'No, no, George isn't wearing his mask!' "

Both Stephanopoulos, 59, and Wentworth, 55, tested positive for COVID-19, though they had very different battles with the virus.

Ali Wentworth and George Stephanopoulos
Ali Wentworth and George Stephanopoulos. Jim Spellman/WireImage

Wentworth noticed symptoms first in late March and spent 16 days bedridden with a high fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, and body aches. She told Williams she was "deathly ill," and even recently had a relapse because she was pushing herself too hard. "I started getting windy and tired again, so I had to relax," she said. "This is now over a month [later]."

On the other hand, Stephanopoulos had a lighter case, experiencing some body aches and losing his sense of smell. He continued to work remotely on ABC News, broadcasting on Good Morning America and This Week from his home.

"It's a good thing we have a good solid marriage, otherwise I would file for divorce over the fact that he got no symptoms," Wentworth joked.

George Stephanopoulos in the Hamptons
George-Stephanopoulos. TMZ

But Stephanopoulos came under fire on April 20 when he was photographed by TMZ walking near his Hamptons home with a mask around his neck, days after going public with his diagnosis (and after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's executive order to wear masks in public went into effect).

Prior to that, on April 10, Stephanopoulos' neighbor Carrie Doyle went on a rant Facebook, accusing him of not appropriately following social distancing guidelines while shopping at a local pharmacy. She later vented to The New York Times, saying she felt Stephanopoulos was being hypocritical for urging GMA viewers to stay home and then going out himself, and not taking advantage of the pharmacy's delivery option.

"I was dismayed that he chose the option to pick up in person," Doyle told The Times. "I thought it wasn’t very thoughtful to be out and about, especially since the other customers in the pharmacy were elderly."

That didn't sit well with Wentworth, who stressed that her husband was following the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"In a time when people are dying, people are sick, they're losing their jobs, that's how this woman decides to use her energy?" Wentworth told Williams of Doyle's Facebook message, which has since been deleted. "She went after George because he was at our local pharmacy, with a mask and gloves, doing the right protocol to pick up these antibiotics because it was turning into pneumonia. He was six feet away from everybody!"

Stephanopoulos also defended himself to the Times, saying, "I was staying home, I was self-monitoring, I never had a temperature, and I never had any of the classic symptoms. I was wearing a mask and gloves in [the pharmacy]."

RELATED VIDEO: George Stephanopoulos Says He Tested Positive for COVID-19 as Wife Ali Wentworth Is on the Mend

Wentworth and Stephanopoulos have been married since 2001 and share two teenage daughters: Elliott Anastasia, 17, and Harper Andrea, 14.

On Wendy, Wentworth says she's hoping her girls go all out on Mother's Day this Sunday.

"[My days have been]cook, clean, vacuum, laundry, repeat — over and over again," she said. "If I don't have the best Mother's Day in the history of Mother's Days, the kids are on their own. I'm dropping them off in the woods."

The Wendy Williams Show airs weekdays in syndication (check local listings).

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Updated by
Dave Quinn
Dave Quinn

Dave Quinn is an Editor for PEOPLE, working across a number of verticals including the Entertainment, Lifestyle and News teams.

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