The talk show on her long journey to self-acceptance and happiness.
We now know Wendy Williams as the most confident woman in the world. But, says the New Jersey native, she wasn't always the Wendy that the world knows today. In the latest issue of PEOPLE, the talk show host recalls a childhood riddled with self-doubt, body issues and always feeling like an outsider, socially.
Her battle with body acceptance began young. "I grew up being fat-shamed by my family," said Williams. "My first diet was in the first grade! Tuna fish and mustard with yogurt on the side.”
In high school, Williams always felt like the odd man out. "I was just the girl standing on the side, looking at everybody having fun and saying, 'I can't wait to get out of here and set the world on fire'," she added.
And that she did. But not before dealing with a few other bumps along the way, like a heavy cocaine addiction in her 20s and 30s. "Drugs were a demon I had to overcome," she recalled.
Now 15 years clean, the fierce 50-year-old is totally thriving. Her successful radio career led on to her hit talk show. She’s happily married and mother to her son 13-year-old son, Kevin Hunter, Jr. Years later, things are looking up—way up.
"I feel like I'm just getting started," said Williams.