On the July 8 episode of The Wendy Williams Show, the talk show host drew thunderous applause when she revealed she’s “officially off the market.”
“I know!” Williams said, covering her face as the audience cheered. “I’m not in love, but there’s somebody that I’m crazy about.”
Williams, who turns 55 on July 18, then started crying tears of happiness, a welcome sight for her fans after the emotional turmoil the Emmy-nominee has shared with them since filing for divorce from her longtime husband Kevin Hunter in April.
Like she said in May, Williams is “reclaiming” her life since her decision to end her 21-year marriage to Hunter, who was her manager the executive producer of The Wendy Williams Show and father of 18-year-old son Kevin Jr.
Unable to resist dishing on her new romance, while denying the report that she was dating 27-year-old Marc Tomblin, saying “OK, mother doesn’t deal with children.” (Though an eyewitness spilled to E! News that the duo were “holding hands and she held his arm the entire time” during an outing in NYC after being introduced to each other by Blac Chyna.)
She continued, “And he’s got to work. It helps that he is a doctor,” Wendy revealed. “I’m not gonna say one more word, you’re not gonna blow this for me. You’re not gonna blow this for me. But he has been married, his kids are in their 20s. Like, he’s…and yes, he’s black. I know you’re wondering. He’s black, yes.”
For viewers and members of Williams’ inner circle, the host’s giddiness and tears of joy were a welcome sight.
“Wendy really is living her best life right now,” a source told E! News. “She returned from her summer hiatus stronger than ever and loves living in New York City.”
Our insider continued, “Her staff and friends are really happy for her.”
Williams’ upbeat attitude is in stark contrast from her demeanor on her eponymous show just ever months ago, when she tearfully addressed Hunter’s alleged infidelity and her struggles with her sobriety after endless speculation about her absence and parade of tabloid rumors.
And that came after almost three months of silence from outspoken host, following an admittedly “less than stellar” show in December.
“I promise you a better Wendy in 2019,” Williams vowed at the time. “I will get some much needed rest and healing over these next couple of weeks. (Yes I am definitely juicing over the next couple of weeks). Sorry again. I love you all!”
But the new year started with Williams, a four-time Daytime Emmy nominee for Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show Host, MIA from her hit show, with various guest hosts stepping in, including Jerry O’Connell, Nick Cannon and others.
Her hiatus was initially slated to be a few weeks, as she had announced her time off before heading into the holiday season—and was then extended due to a particularly painful hairline fracture in her upper arm.
But then her planned return was delayed again, due to ongoing health issues, a statement released by Williams and her family said at the time, revealing a she had a flare-up of her Graves’ disease.
“As Wendy Williams Hunter previously shared, she fractured her shoulder and has been on the mend. Over the past few days, Wendy has experienced complications regarding her Graves’ Disease that will require treatment,” the statement read. “Wendy will be under the strict supervision of her physicians, and as part of her care, there will be significant time spent in the hospital. Despite her strong desire to return, she is taking a necessary, extended break from her show to focus on her personal and physical well-being.”
In March, Williams finally returned to her show, with the former “three-gram-a-day cocaine” user revealing she’d been living in a sober house “for some time now, and even today and beyond.”
Opening up to her audience, she continued, “When you see me come to work, glammed up, right after the show I go across the street, I do my Pilates. I told you, two hours a day or like to take care of my body. And you know I’ve had a struggle with cocaine in my past. And I never went to a place to get the treatment. I don’t know how, except God was sitting on my shoulder and I just stopped.”
Williams also shot down rumors that her extended absence was due to reports that her husband had been cheating on her and had fathered a child with his alleged mistress (with the Daily Mail reporting on his alleged double life in an explosive 2017 article.)
“Believe me you, when you’ve been with somebody for 28 years…married for 25 years…we know each other. He’s my best friend, he’s my lover, he’s all this and he’s all that,” she said. “I know what you’ve been seeing and I know what the streets have been talking about.”
And she decidedly shut down split rumors.
“Anybody who’s been married for five minutes or 500 years, you know marriages have ebbs and flows. Marriages are not easy…Don’t ask me about mine until you see this gone,” she said pointing to the ring affixed to the fourth finger of her left hand. “And it ain’t going anywhere—not in this lifetime.”
Hunter also spoke out against the rumors of trouble in their marriage, telling Entertainment Tonight, “Wendy is doing well. We’re doing well as a family. We are moving forward with working on her sobriety and doing the work to help others, not just ourselves. It is a family process. Anybody that has to deal with this knows this a family process… and we are dealing with it and moving forward.”
But then Williams’ ring became the source of endless speculation as she would alternate between proudly sporting it and taking it off, and and less than one month after her return to daytime, Williams filed for divorce from Hunter, who was served with the papers at the studio where the talk show is taped. The ring was officially gone.
“There exists irreconcilable differences between the parties which have caused the breakdown of the marriage for a period of six months and which make it appear that the marriage should be dissolved as there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation,” Williams’ divorce filing stated.
At the time, a source revealed to us that the decision to file for divorce came after “Wendy and Kevin had a confrontation over his alleged mistress. Kevin admitted to the affair and to fathering the child.”
His alleged admission sent Williams “over-the-edge and she relapsed,” the insider added. “After recovering from the relapse, Wendy made the difficult decision to divorce Kevin. It was a very hard choice for her, but she finally realized she had to put her health and well-being first.”
Her decision to end her marriage over her husband’s infidelity wasn’t surprising for those who read her 2001 memoir, Wendy’s Got the Heat, in which she revealed Hunter had cheated on her shortly after she gave birth to their son Kevin Jr., vowing she would “walk out for good” if an affair developed into a full-blown relationship.
But in 2013, Williams insisted on Vlad TV in 2013 that his prior infidelity and her subsequent forgiveness made their “marriage stronger. No, I’m not back to the girl I was before him, because when you get stung like that, you never go back to who you were. Only a fool does.”
We all know the saying: fool me once…
In a statement to E! News after the divorce filing news broke, Williams’ personal rep said, “Thank you to everyone for respecting the family’s privacy during this time. Kevin is supportive of Wendy and they are working through this process together.”
In his own statement, Hunter said, “28 years ago I met an amazing woman: Wendy Williams. At the time, I didn’t realize that she would not only become my wife, but would also change the face of entertainment and the world,” Hunter said in a statement to E! News Tuesday. “I have dedicated most of our lives to the business empire that is Wendy Williams Hunter, a person that I truly love and respect unconditionally.
“I am not proud of my recent actions and take full accountability and apologize to my wife, my family and her amazing fans,” he continued. “I am going through a time of self-reflection and am trying to right some wrongs.”
But as Williams was removing Hunter from her personal life, he was also being pushed out of her personal one, with a show spokesperson confirming to E! News after her divorce filing that, “Kevin Hunter is no longer an executive producer on The Wendy Williams Show. Debmar-Mercury wishes him well in his future endeavors.”
Back in 2013, a source had told the New York Daily News that Hunter had become a controlling presence on the set, requiring that guest bookings and other key decisions be run by him first, and it was unfathomable to those who knew Williams as the strong force to be reckoned with that she usually is that she was allowing him to act that way. Around that time Love B Scott also reported that show executives would rather Hunter not be there.
And after his departure from the show following Williams’ following, a source told us, “Having Kevin on set was stressful and made for a tense working environment. Wendy is relieved.”
That relief was felt by audience members who attended her first taping after filing for divorce, with one telling us, “Wendy was so unbelievably incredible today. She came out and went into what’s going on at the sober house and Kevin in a way that you can tell she’s, like, back.”
Of course, Williams knew what everyone was interested in. As per the rules and regulations of the “Hot Topics bureau,” Williams said, “now my business is your business.” She started laughing, adding, “It’s kinda funny!”
She went on to reveal her plans for “a whole new life” as she continued to focus on her sobriety.
“Addressing my sobriety, my addiction head-on, has really helped me sort out every single compartment in my life,” Williams told her audience, which applauded enthusiastically as she took a sip of tea. “I have a commitment to me and my son to come out of here better, stronger and faster than ever—and by the way, I will still commit—’cause you’ll forget about my business any moment now—I commit that the motto of this show will always be ‘their business is our business!'”
Single for the first time in over 25 years, Williams focused on her health and sobriety, eventually moving into “the ultimate bachelorette pad high atop everything” with a “really, really good view” in New York City after leaving the sober house she was living in and the New Jersey home she shared with Hunter.
In May, Williams shared with her audience that she was enjoying the single life, saying, “I go out a lot because I am a good time girl. I like to have fun. I am right now a young and pretty New York City girl.”
And before meeting her new beau, Williams was “rediscovering my love of men…”I do date and I date pretty often.”
She then added men from her show have been to her home to help her unpack and move boxes. “The parade of men will continue,” Williams said.
As Williams was busy reclaiming her life, Hunter filed a counter-claim, seeking spousal and child support for their now-19-year-old son.
However, the family was back in the headlines on May 22 when it was reported that Kevin. Jr. was arrested for allegedly getting into a physical fight with his dad in New Jersey, with Kevin Sr. later telling TMZ, “I love my son very much and I will not be pursuing this matter legally. Things are not always how they appear.”
In July, the simple assault case against the teen was dismissed, who had previously pleaded not guilty to the charges.
“The police were not witnesses to what happened and they came onto the scene after the fact,” his attorney Raymond Hamlin told E! News. “If you don’t have a first-hand historian you can’t prosecute and the father never wanted to prosecute his own son. They have reconciled since. Things happen in families at times, unfortunately, but they are good now.”
The attorney added that the father and son “came in together” and were “laughing and joking around with each other.”
Kevin Jr. is currently home from college and sees both of his parents, and his mom is focused on her new life as a single mom, fully aware of the public’s interest in her personal life after years of spilling the tea on celebrities.
“It’s hard to say ‘give privacy’ because I don’t give privacy when I’m doing the rest of the stories, so you do what you want—you always do,” she said on her show in May.
Leave it to the purveyor of Hot Topics to become the hottest one of the summer.