Wendy Williams Suffers from Thyroid Issues & Graves' Disease, Will Take 3-Week Hiatus
Wendy Williams is taking time off from her self-titled show to focus on her hyperthyroidism and Graves’ disease.
The talk show host, 53, announced on Wednesday’s show that she was diagnosed with Graves’, an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid, in addition to thyroid issues of which she was previously aware.
“Graves’ disease squeezes the muscles behind the eyeballs,” she explained, adding that it has made her eyeballs twitch.
Williams admitted that her viewers spotted the eye issue before she did, adding that she attributed symptoms to focusing on her son Kevin‘s senior year of high school and applying to colleges as well as her work.
“Wendy is a true champion and has never missed a day of work. But her health and well-being must be put before all else,” a show rep tells PEOPLE. “Wendy has been openly dealing with her Graves’ Disease for many years in addition to hyperthyroidism. Yesterday, Wendy’s doctor prescribed a necessary three weeks of rest to get her levels and medication in sync. The show will be in repeats during this unplanned hiatus. A live show was produced today so that Wendy could speak directly to her fans and explain her condition.”
After canceling an appointment with her endocrinologist scheduled for December in favor of a business meeting, Williams finally saw the doctor on Tuesday.
“My doctor has prescribed — are you ready? — as of today, three weeks of vacation,” she announced. “What? Who are you? I was pissed.”
The TV personality joked, “I’ll be back in two. I’m not an heiress — who is going to pay my bills? Are you serious? I’m just saying, I come from working class.”
Williams also had an important message to women to put their health first.
“What I want to say to women, more than men, is stop putting everyone first because if we’re not good, they’re not good,” she said.
The announcement comes after Williams canceled several shows last week because she was experiencing “flu-ish” symptoms, she said in an Instagram post last Wednesday.
“I do go to the doctors today to find out what exactly it is,” she explained. “I feel awful. I had to be talked out of going to work today and taking off a few days to get myself together.”
The talk show host also fainted during a live broadcast of her show on Halloween, which she attributed to feeling “overheated” in her elaborate Statue of Liberty costume. The broadcast quickly cut to commercial, and Williams continued the show when they returned.
The day after the incident, Williams recounted the collapse to her studio audience.
“It was scary,” she recalled, choking up. “It was really scary. It was so scary, all I could think of in the middle of the scare was, ‘Don’t pull the podium over on you, because that’ll make it worse.’ ”
After closing out the show, paramedics informed her she was low on electrolytes.
“My blood pressure was fine, my heart rate was fine, everything was fine,” she said. “I’m a 53-year-old middle-aged woman going through what middle-aged women go through, if you know what I mean. The costume got hot. Right before passing out, I felt like I was in the middle of a campfire.”
The Wendy Williams Show airs weekdays (check local listings).