Television and radio talk show host, author. Born July 18, 1964, in Asbury Park, New Jersey, Wendy Williams‘ oversized, brash personality made her a force on the New York City FM airwaves. Williams is now the host of the BET television program, The Wendy Williams Show.
From an early age, Wendy stood out. One of three children born to Thomas and Shirley Williams, she moved with her family at the age of five from Asbury Park to the middle class community of Ocean Township, New Jersey, where she spent the rest of her childhood.
At the outset, Williams says, she “spoke too loud, too fast, and too much,” a characteristic that was in sharp contrast to her older, more bookish sister Wanda, a straight-A student who attended Tufts University at the age of 16.
Wendy, on the other hand, was not an academic wonder. She was a big girl who, by the sixth grade, already stood 5-foot 7-inches and wore a size 11 shoe (her size today). With her parents pushing her, however, Williams became involved in many extra-curricular activities. She was a girl scout, played clarinet in the marching band, and competed on her high school swimming team. When it came time to select a college, she followed in Wanda’s footsteps and relocated to Boston, where she attended Northeastern University and graduated in 1986 with a degree in communications and a minor in journalism.
There, Wendy got involved in radio. She hosted her own urban music show on the college’s radio station, WRBB, and interned for the pioneering Boston deejay, Matt Seigel of Kiss 108. In her downtime, Williams took the train to New York City to hang out at Penn Station, where she would sit by herself and listen to some of her favorite radio personalities on a portable radio.
After college, Williams bounced around as she tried to make it in radio. Her first on-air job took her to a station in St. Croix, in the Virgin Islands. Then it was on to New York, where she eventually got fired for not exactly sticking to the station’s script. “It’s been mostly, ‘Read these liners, and play the hits’ and ‘You’re saying too much’ and ‘Shut the hell up,’” Williams has said of her radio career.
After New York, Williams moved to Philadelphia, where she worked for three years before returning to Manhattan for a job at WBLS. There, Williams demonstrated that she didn’t need to spin lot of records to draw big ratings. Instead, The Wendy Williams Experience delved deep into her own personal life, touching difficult subjects like her past struggles with drug addiction, her plastic surgeries, and the hardships of trying to conceive.
Modeling her style after shock-jock Howard Stern—even dubbing herself “The Queen of Media” in homage to Stern’s title “King of All Media“—Williams proved unafraid to weigh in on the lives of her listeners, who numbered around 12 million. For those who called in, Wendy offered up advice and tough love.
But it wasn’t just with her fans that Williams exercised honesty. Her guests, too—some of them celebrity heavyweights—were never coddled. In 2003, Willliams and Whitney Houston went at it on-air as the show’s host asked the singer about her drug history. Williams later patched things up with Houston, but made no apologies for her interview style. “My bark is worse than my bite…by being tall and outgoing, people mistake that for being overpowering, overbearing, loud and being a bully,” Williams later told The New York Times.
Williams leveraged her success on the radio into other opportunities, authoring a pair of New York Times bestsellers (Wendy’s Got the Heat and the Wendy Willliam Experience); writing a few novels; and landing on television. She hosted her own show on VH1 and, in the fall of 2007, made appearances on NBC’s Today Show to dish on the latest celebrity gossip.
In the summer of 2008, her television exposure enhanced significantly with a trial run of BET’s The Wendy Williams Show. The program’s ratings motivated network executives to greenlight a full-scale run of the show the following summer. In November 2008, while waiting for the premiere of her new program, Williams was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.
On July 13, 2009, Williams debuted her new television program. The show drew from her radio show’s format, mixing in celebrity dirt, celebrity interviews, advice to audience members. Several weeks later, on July 31, 2009, she announced her retirement from radio. On November 19, 2009, Williams’ producer announced that the show was confirmed for the 2011-12 season.
Williams lives in northern New Jersey with her husband and their son, Kevin, Jr., who was born 1999.
Wendy Williams and husband, Kevin Hunter
Detailed professional bio (not including TV show):
|Wendy Williams (born July 16, 1964) is an African-American radio host and television personality. She was raised in Ocean Township, New Jersey and presently lives in northern New Jersey with her husband, Kevin Hunter and their four-year-old son. She currently has her own show called Wendy Williams Is On Fire on American VH1 and hosts a weekday syndicated radio program called The Wendy Williams Experience from its flagship station 107.5 WBLS New York City. Williams attended Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts where she majored in communications and was a DJ for the college station WRBB 104.9 FM. During college, she interned at WXKS, Kiss 108, in Boston. Later, she became a DJ for a radio station in St. Croix. After a few months there, she accepted a job on, WOL-AM, a Washington D.C. station, and then soon moved to the New York market, where she has worked for PLJ and Hot 97 (both when it was “Hot 97″ and earlier, when it was “Hot 103.5″). In 1989 she was hired by 98.7 Kiss FM in New York as a fill-in DJ. As rival station WBLS was pilfering staff away from Kiss the station immediately hired her full time for their morning show and gave her a Non compete clause contract. That was when she started her gossip on celebrities. A year later she landed her own 6-10pm shift, making her the most listened-to DJ in the country. In 1993 she won the Billboard Award for Best On-Air Radio Personality. Subsequently hired (and fired) from Hot 97 allegedly for outing co-worker Angie Martinez romantic relationship with rapper Q-Tip (of A Tribe Called Quest fame). Wendy then was hired by a Philadelphia station (Power 99), claiming that her NY fans “left her for dead” after the Hot 97 incident. WBLS, Power 99′s sister station, hired her full time for her very own 2-6pm (7pm for the NY Tri-State Area) shift, again making her the most listened-to DJ in the country. She is currently syndicated in Philadelphia, Shreveport, Hartford, and Los Angeles among other markets. Williams is known for being brash and honest in her interviews and refers to herself, a la Howard Stern, as the “Queen Of All Media”. In both hertelevision show and her radio show she dishes celebrity gossip as well as conducts interviews and speaks her mind about current events. She has hosted several installments of Wendy Williams is on Fire for VH1. In 2003, Williams caused controversy when interviewing Whitney Houston and asking blunt questions about Houston’s drug habits and other issues including her marriage to Bobby Brown. During several points in their interview, Houston berated at Williams for “going too deep” with certain questions and then telling Williams that she’d “meet (her) outside” if she wasn’t “a lady with class”. Houston also told her that “only (her) mother had privy to information” about her drug use saying “you talk to your child about that ’cause I’m not a child, Wendy!” Williams has published several books and has won “Radio Personality Of The Year” awards from both Billboard and Radio & Records industry magazines. In 2003, Wendy interviewed R&B star-singer Blu Cantrell for the album Bittersweet. During the interview, Wendy asked Blu about her sexual activities and practices, criticized other R&B artists, and talked about drug abuse with Blu. The interview was sold on a Bonus DVD with the Bittersweet album, however, it did not boost sales as it was intended to.|