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Wendy Williams reveals she’s been staying in a sober-living house

Wendy Williams answers questions before a live audience in Silver Spring, Md., on July 31, 2018. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

Wendy Williams has built a reputation on her willingness to talk about pretty much anything, but the daytime talk show host stunned viewers Tuesday when she tearfully revealed she has been living in a sober house.

Williams, 54, has been open about her past struggles with cocaine abuse. She has said she was a “functioning addict” who would sometimes party all night during her days as a brash radio host.

“So you know me for being a very open and truthful person,” Williams said on “The Wendy Williams Show.” “And I’ve got more to the story for you.”

Williams broke into tears before noting that her family foundation had just launched a substance abuse hotline. “Well, for some time now, and even today and beyond, I have been living in a sober house.”

Williams, who said she has a 24-hour sober coach, did not specify whether she was being treated for cocaine addiction. She explained that after taping her show, she does Pilates for two hours and then attends “several meetings” around the Tri-state area.

“And I see my brothers and sisters caught up in their addiction and looking for help. They don’t know I’m Wendy, they don’t care I’m Wendy, there’s no autographs, there’s no nothing,” Williams said. “It’s the brothers and sisters caught up in the struggle and it’s been really interesting, this ride.”

Wendy Williams made a lot of enemies in radio 20 years ago. Now she’s a daytime-television staple.

Williams said only her husband, Kevin Hunter, and their son have known about her treatment. “Not my parents, nobody. Nobody knew,” she said before breaking into a smile: “Because I look so glamorous out here.”

But Williams described a less-than-glamorous stay at the sober-living house. “Doors locked by 10 p.m., lights out by 10 p.m. So I go to my room and I stare at my ceiling and I fall asleep to wake up to come back here to see you,” she said. “So that is my truth.”

Williams has had a series of public health struggles since fainting on her nationally syndicated talk show in 2017. Following the terrifying on-air incident, she took an unprecedented three-week leave from the show and later opened up about her battle with Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid.

In December, Williams hosted her show with her arm in a sling after fracturing her shoulder, an accident that prompted her to cancel a taping of her show. Later that week, she drew concern after appearing to slur her words and struggle through an interview with rap group the Lox.

“I sincerely apologize if you feel that today’s show was less than stellar,” she wrote in a subsequent Instagram post. Williams wrote that she had taken pain medication to cope with the fracture “which hurts like hell.”

“I promise you a better Wendy in 2019. I will get some much needed rest and healing over these next couple of weeks,” she added.

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To My Wendy Watchers, I sincerely apologize if you feel that today's show was less than stellar. I’m on your TV screens every day wanting to spread laughter, entertainment and cheer. As I reported earlier in the week, I have a hairline fracture on my upper arm, which hurts like hell. I’ve never broken a bone or experienced a fracture in my life. In the key place where the fracture is, and trying to scurry around and do too much, I am now paying the price. I've never taken a pain medication in my life (except when I got snatched over 20 years ago) until this week. I did that to power through and try to deliver a great show for you, against the better judgement of the many people around me who genuinely care for my well-being. I really do ride or die for my craft and give 200%. Not to mention everyone is aware at this point about my thyroid condition (don’t cry for me Argentina). For all my fellow thyroid sufferers, you know what the deal is. And for those that don’t: I encourage you to please read up. Needless to say, whatever today's performance was with the legendary The Lox, who said such nice things, I have no regrets and I appreciate everyone’s genuine concern for my wellness and care. I promise you a better Wendy in 2019. 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. Happy Holidays!

A post shared by Wendy Williams (@wendyshow) on

A month later, Williams announced she would take an extended leave from “The Wendy Williams Show” to focus on her health amid ongoing thyroid issues. The show ran a series of repeats and also aired live shows featuring famous friends including Nick Cannon, Jerry O’Connell and Sherri Shepherd as guest hosts.

“Thank you so much for waiting for us,” Williams said when she returned earlier this month. She said she had not intended to be on leave for two months, but noted that thyroid disease is “a lifelong thing” and that her doctors were frequently adjusting her medication.

Amid Williams’s health struggles, tabloids and even some fans have seized on her past drug abuse. On Tuesday, Williams confessed she had never sought formal treatment for cocaine addiction.

“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 said. “But there are people in your family, it might be you, who have been struggling. And I wanted to know more of the story. So, this is my autobiographical story and I’m living it and I’m telling you this.”