Wendy Williams received the 2,677th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Thursday, joined by Jack Abernethy, CEO of Fox TV stations, radio host Elvis Duran, Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell and others who assembled on Hollywood Boulevard to celebrate the veteran TV host.
“If I don’t laugh, I’ll cry, so I’ll keep it light and laughter-y,” Williams said as she took the podium to accept her honor, choking back tears all the same. “Jack and Elvis and Mitch and people have said throughout the day ... I’m successful because I’ve done things my way. No, not exactly. It’s because I’m a good listener to advice, and if I don’t like the advice, then I do things my way.”
The performer went on to thank her family, fans and “loyal, hard-working staff” at “The Wendy Williams Show,” as well as Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein of Debmar-Mercury, which distributes the program. She also named some of her greatest talk-show inspirations, such as Mike Douglas and Dinah Shore.
“I did not know I would be a talk-show host, but I liked the chit-chat; I’ve always liked the chit-chat,” she said. “When they told me, ‘It’s going to be a live talk show,’ I was frightened — frightened. Doing it by myself, I had no problem with because most of my career I’ve been by myself. Even in a room full of a thousand people, I always feel like the person who doesn’t belong.”
Williams started her 30-year-plus career as a radio emcee, working for various stations before landing her own show on New York’s WBLS and establishing her snarky voice through candid interviews with high-profile guests. In 2009, she was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.
She later brought her trademark unfiltered, opinionated personality to TV, where she has hosted her hit daytime talk show for 11 years. The star made headlines earlier this year when she opened up to her viewers about her marriage, struggles with addiction and time living in a sober house. The personal move prompted an outpouring of love and support from her fans and contemporaries.
“The elephant in the room is that I’ve been having a very, very tough year, but slowly but surely I’m climbing out of the pit, and this is one of those monumental days that makes me say, ‘If you don’t believe in yourself, who’s going to believe in you?’” she said, tearing up as attendees shouted messages of encouragement. “Sometimes life is a very, very lonely path, and you’ve just got to make some hard decisions.”
Williams’ Emmy-nominated program has been extended through 2022.