Wendy Williams didn’t want to be the “next Oprah” on TV.
That was the message from Williams, an Ocean Township native, as she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Thursday, Oct. 17. The star of “The Wendy Williams Show” relayed the expectations of her when she transitioned from radio to television more than 10 years ago.
“Everybody was kind of looking for the next Oprah (Winfrey),” said Williams, wearing a black shear dress with white stars, in public remarks at the ceremony. “Everybody kind of squinted. It was difficult to see a lone black girl on TV and Oprah had just left and that’s all we could think about, the next Oprah. And no, I’m Nope-rah!”
The Oprah Winfrey Show” ended in 2011 when Winfrey founded the Oprah Winfrey Network cable channel. A few year’s earlier, Williams left a noted career on primarily New York City radio for the “The Wendy Williams Show” in 2008.Please don’t put that on me,” said Williams, 55, of the Winfrey comparison. “My spirit can’t sit and talk about the SPCA and things like that all day. I like to have fun and 11 years later, I still like to have fun.”
“The Wendy Williams Show” has just been extended through 2022.
Williams’ name has been in the headlines as of late due to a public breakup with husband and show producer Kevin Hunter.
“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?’” said Williams, a long-time resident of Livingston. “Sometimes life is a very, very lonely path, and you’ve just got to make some hard decisions.”
Williams credited her son, Kevin Jr., 19, as a stabilizing force.
“I want to give some love to my son Kevin, it’s me and you kid,” said Williams, tearing up. “Kev’s only 19 so he only knows me doing this, he only knows mom up here. Somehow he always tells me I’m just Mom. There’s one person here that knows, you know, there’s no place like home.