Wendy Williams has been a fixture on the daytime television landscape since the 2008 launch of her eponymous talk show. In fact, over the course of more than a decade of The Wendy Williams Show, the former radio deejay‘s sometimes turbulent personal life generated plenty of headlines — particularly those involving the salacious details surrounding her 2019 divorce filing.
However, Williams has also drummed up plenty of media coverage for her antics on the air, many of which have proven to be objectively odd. And while the long-running success of The Wendy Williams Show speaks for itself, there’s a case to be made that perhaps it’s precisely because of this weird behavior that her legions of loyal viewers continue to keep tuning in day after day.
Some of these quirky moments have gone on to become running bits, deeply ingrained in her on-air shtick. Others, however, have required explanations, apologies, denials, and the occasional emergency medical intervention. Find out far more by taking a deep dive into some of daytime talk show host Wendy Williams’ strangest moments.
Her hilarious mispronunciation of Dua Lipa
On more than one occasion, Wendy Williams has had some difficulty pronouncing the name of singer Dua Lipa. As fans of the London-born singer certainly know, her name is correctly pronounced "doo-ah lee-pa." Williams, however, demonstrated an unfortunate habit of continually mangling her name, pronouncing Dua Lipa as "Dula Peep."
Dua Lipa’s fans found Williams’ mispronunciation to be hilarious, and were not shy about mocking her on Twitter. Even Dua Lipa herself weighed in, retweeting a snarky tweet (which was later deleted, but archived by BuzzFeed) and asking if "Dula Peep" was "a new Kanye [West] song?" Williams later appeared on The Tonight Show, with host Jimmy Fallon telling his guest that Dua Lipa’s fans "loved" her screwup, "and now they call her Dula Peep… and she loves it, she laughs. So yeah, you started something."
Dula Peep — sorry, Dua Lipa — also paid a visit to Fallon, who couldn’t help but bring up Williams’ gaffe. "It’s kind of cute… it’s a thing now," the singer said with a laugh, admitting she took no offense. "My whole life I feel like my name’s always been a little bit difficult to pronounce."
The time Wendy Williams forgot this rapper died
During a 2018 episode, Wendy Williams was discussing the ongoing animosity between Cardi B and Nicki Minaj when she offered up an idea. The two feuding rappers, Williams suggested, should hit the road and go out on tour together. She took her idea even further by proposing a lineup of supporting acts.
"It would be Remy [Ma], Ms. Melodie from back in the day," she told the audience. As she spoke, Williams’ eyes widened and shifted to something offstage. Suddenly, viewers were greeted with a shot of senior producer Norman Baker standing in front of a monitor. "Ms. Melodie may have passed away, I think," he tentatively informed. "She passed away?" said the surprised host, adding a sad "Oh."
The producer was correct; Ms. Melodie (whose real name was Romana Scott) did indeed die in 2012. Fans of the late Boogie Down Productions emcee were not impressed by WIlliams’ faux pas. "I swear, she screws up like this on a daily basis," wrote one Twitter user, while another saw the humor in the situation, writing, "I feel so bad for laughing so hard."
Do not touch Wendy Williams’ microphone
If faithful viewers of The Wendy Williams show have gleaned anything from watching the show, it’s that members of the studio audience should never, ever touch the host’s signature bedazzled microphone. In fact, Williams haughtily snatching away her mic from somebody foolish enough to think she’s passing it to them is something that’s occurred on the show so many times that a dedicated fan actually created a video compilation of some of the numerous times she’s had to remind people to keep their mitts off her mic.
While Williams may be loath to hand off her beloved mic to an audience member, there was one time when she was convinced to part with it. That took place back in 2014, when USA Today reported that her sparkling microphone would be among the artifacts from her show that she was donating to the Smithsonian. Her mic, along with a wig and accompanying pink wig head, were donated to the National Museum of American History‘s television collection, to be displayed alongside such iconic television artifacts as Archie Bunker’s chair from All in the Family and Seinfeld‘s legendary puffy shirt.
Mocking Joaquin Phoenix got Wendy Williams slammed
Wendy Williams is no stranger to self-generated controversy over the comments she makes on the air. Some of these are so outrageous they appear to be calculated to generate media attention, such as the time she seemingly attempted to start a feud with Beyoncé (who, to her credit, didn’t even bother to respond) by saying she "sounds like she’s got a fifth-grade education" when she speaks.
Several years later, Williams was discussing Queen Bey yet again when the topic shifted to actor Joaquin Phoenix. In the episode, Williams admitted to finding Phoenix "oddly attractive" before referring to his "cleft lip, cleft palate" — and then mocking the actor by using her finger to lift her upper lip as she kept talking, intentionally slurring her words as she did.
She was hit with backlash, most notably from Canadian football player Adam Bighill, who called her out and demanding an apology. According to Global News, Bighill and his infant son Beau "were both born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate." Meanwhile, a Change.org petition seeking her firing garnered more than 128,000 signatures. Williams later did apologize, announcing her show was also making a donation to organizations devoted to helping children with cleft palates.
Wendy Williams’ bold accusation about Christie Brinkley
Viewers of Dancing With the Stars will recall the drama that ensued when supermodel Christie Brinkley tripped and fell during a rehearsal, reportedly breaking her arm in the tumble. Brinkley’s daughter, Sailor Brinkley-Cook, stepped in to be a last-minute replacement.
Where most saw a daughter coming to the aid of an injured mom, Wendy Williams smelled a conspiracy. "Well, that looked fake as hell," Williams said about footage of the accident. Dismissing Brinkley’s fall as "real cute," Williams claimed Brinkley faked the accident as part of a premeditated plan to "put her daughter Sailor in there."
When Brinkley learned about Williams’ remarks, she told People she was "totally shocked, because I have been there for Wendy Williams. That is so weird." According to People, Williams’ accusation left Brinkley "bursting into tears" before adding, "I’m really stunned." Brinkley subsequently appeared on The Talk, where she displayed her arm cast and threw some serious shade at Williams. "My message to Wendy is, it’s so much more fun to be kind. Try it. It can’t feel good to try to hurt other people. If it feels good, something’s seriously wrong," she said.
Her awkward, nasty interview with Omarosa
Every so often Wendy Williams welcomes a guest who rubs her the wrong way. That was definitely the case when reality TV villain Omarosa Manigault Newman dropped by for an interview that turned contentious pretty much immediately. After the two hugged, Manigault Newman instantly went on the offensive, slamming Williams for some remarks she made in her intro. "I know how to chill, but I will not be disrespected," she told Williams.
Things went even further downhill when the guest refused directions to showcase the book she was shilling for a particular camera, snatching the book back from the host when she was trying to display it for the camera. Williams seemed confused by the animosity aimed her way. "What did I just do?" Williams asked her audience. "Nothing, right?" After a restart, the interview eventually went off the rails again when the two began trading insults after Manigault Newman accused Williams of "reinforcing stereotypes."
Williams later addressed the nasty exchange in an interview with Associated Press (via Fox News), and did not sugarcoat her opinion. "I wanted to throw her off the set," Williams said, adding, "Omarosa wished her career was my career. Omarosa is a delusional, D-list, pathetic woman." Ten years after the infamous interview, Manigault Newman still seemed slightly cagey about Williams, too, telling the Washington Examiner that although they’ve since "made up," she would "have to see how [she] feel[s] on that day," if they ever did a "rematch."
The weird explanation for why Wendy Williams wipes her tears with Q-Tips
One of the strangest recurring bits on The Wendy Williams Show is the host’s insistence, when overcome with emotion, of wiping away tears with Q-Tips. One enterprising fan, in fact, even put together a YouTube compilation of the various times that Williams has dabbed at her eyes with tiny cotton swabs.
During one of these episodes, Williams explained the rationale behind going with Q-Tips instead of the more commonly used tissue. "Like I tell you, if you cry you let the tears fall on your face," she told her audience, adding, "Don’t rub them, because rubbing causes wrinkles. And all salt is not bad salt. The salt that comes from your tears is from your natural body. So what you’re doing is you’re infusing your natural body chemicals back into your skin. That’s why I use the cotton swabs. You don’t see me touch my tears. Oh no, no, no!"
However, she had a completely different explanation in another episode. "Q-Tips are better than tissues because tissues mess up all the makeup," she declared, adding, "A Q-Tip just catches it in the corner before it falls down."
She lip-synced along with Fergie without knowing the words to the song
When it comes to tough-to-watch, cringe-inducing moments on The Wendy Williams Show, it’s tough to top the time that former Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie paid a visit to the show back in 2008. During the interview, Williams elicited audible groans and scattered laughter from her studio audience when she told her guest, "No disrespect to the Peas, but I ain’t never heard of them until Fergalicious entered the picture."
Awkward? Sure, but nothing compared to what happened when the show featured footage recorded during a commercial break, showing Williams singing and dancing along with Fergie as they both lip-synced along to her hit "Glamorous."
One teensy problem was immediately apparent to anyone watching: Williams had only the vaguest notion of the song’s lyrics as she shimmied along and moved her mouth randomly, managing to mouth the word "glamorous" when the song made it to the chorus while her face displayed a glimmer of panic. Despite Williams’ ignorance of the song, the studio audience still gave the duo a standing ovation when they made it to the end of the track.
The odd reason Wendy Williams threatened to eject an audience member
Wendy Williams revealed she has little patience for members of her studio audience who don’t remember to silence their phone ringers before filming of the show commences. She proved that definitively during taping of an October 2019 episode of The Wendy Williams Show, which found her right in the midst of an on-air discussion when she abruptly stopped in her tracks.
"Is somebody’s phone on?" she asked curtly. The culprit quickly confessed, attempting to laugh off the faux pas, but Williams was apparently not in a forgiving mood. She responded by pointing to the exit while issuing an angry edict. "Get out! Get out!" she insisted. "Turn that phone off now, sir, ma’am, whoever you are. … I was being dramatic — kindly, please turn your phone off."
While the phone-ringing culprit may have been sufficiently shamed, Williams’ studio audience loved every second of it. When she completed her rant, the crowd responded with thunderous applause.
When Wendy Williams flipped the script — on herself
It’s no understatement to point out that 2019 was a difficult year for Wendy Williams. After plenty of denials of marital strife, in April of that year that she filed for divorce from husband Kevin Hunter after 21 years of marriage when rumors that he had fathered a child with his mistress turned out to be right on the money. "I’m a very forgiving person, but there’s one thing that I could never be a part of, and that one thing happened," Williams told The New York Times Magazine.
The month before that announcement, Deadline reported that a U.K. tabloid was about to publish a story alleging Williams was undergoing treatment for addiction. Before the story broke, she made a shocking revelation to her viewers. "For some time now and even today and beyond I have been living in a sober house," she explained. Admitting she’d "had a struggle with cocaine in my past," she didn’t offer any further details about the nature of the addiction she was battling. She did, however, finally admit, "This is my autobiographical story, and I’m living it."
Of course, it goes without saying that it takes bravery for a public figure to be this open about such serious personal struggles, however, it was undeniably uncanny to see the woman famous for "spilling the tea" of others have to do the same for herself.
Wendy Williams’ secret struggle with addiction may have generated some strange TV moments
Wendy Williams’ confession that she was being treated for addiction may have shed some light on her stranger TV moments. One of these occurred during the 2017 Halloween show. Williams, costumed as the Statue of Liberty, began slurring her words before wobbling unsteadily and then crumpling to the ground. In an episode the next day, Williams offered an explanation for the faint. Insisting it "was not a joke," she passed the whole thing off as an unfortunate side effect of menopause. "I’m a 53-year-old, middle-aged woman going through what middle-aged women go through if you know what I mean," she said. "The costume got hot. All the sudden right before passing out, I felt like I was in the middle of a campfire."
The following year, she once again began slurring her words throughout a particularly odd episode. This time, she blamed the painkillers she’d been taking after breaking her arm. "I have no regrets and I appreciate everyone’s genuine concern for my wellness and care," she wrote in an Instagram post, noting that the fracture "hurts like hell." She also apologized to anyone who felt "today’s show was less than stellar."
Did she or didn’t she? Wendy Williams offers explanation for ‘fartgate’
In January 2020, viewers thought they’d witnessed something rare occur on the air when, during one episode, Wendy Williams briefly paused her conversation, allowing viewers to hear a noise in the background that sounded remarkably like a blast of flatulence. This toot heard ’round the world was quickly dubbed "Fartgate."
Williams attempted to shut it all down by issuing a full denial at the top of the following day’s show. "I have never farted once on this show," she declared, adding, "As a matter of fact, I barely fart, you know why? Because gas gets released several different ways and mine is belching because all I do is talk." Williams also insisted that, given the foghorn-like tone that viewers heard, if that was her passing gas, "I would have left a mark on the seat," while her clothing would have been "soiled beyond soiled-tivity."
Williams even brought out a staffer to back up her denial, who claimed that a fish tank was being filled up backstage for a chemistry-experiment segment "and we didn’t have the proper hose for it. … It was sputtering like somebody was farting, so that’s what it was. It wasn’t Wendy!"
Wendy Williams freaked out fans with the bizarre memento she kept from her son’s birth
During The Wendy Williams Show‘s summer hiatus in 2020, Wendy Williams took to Instagram to celebrate a very special occasion: the 20th birthday of her son, Kevin. For those who thought they knew everything there was to know about her, Williams proved to have a few more secrets up her sleeve courtesy of the post, which showcased a collection of mementos from her son’s infancy and childhood. In a clear breach of TMI etiquette, Williams wrote in the caption, "If you look closely you’ll see remains of 1st hair cut, my cerclage is on sneaker, like a mom…"
Those unfamiliar with the word "cerclage" and intrepid enough to Google it were met with definitions such as this one from the American Pregnancy Association, which explains cerclage is a surgical procedure that involves sewing the cervix shut during pregnancy in order to lessen the risk of premature labor. Yes, Williams had apparently saved her stitches!
Williams’ post generated many comments (via Com!c Sands) from her grossed-out followers. "You really kept that?" enquired one, while another wrote simply, "Yuck," and another joked, "Surprised you didn’t keep his first dirty diaper…"