Wendy Williams does not scare easily.
In fact, when her doctor told her she desperately needed to take time off last month due to complications surrounding her Graves’ disease (an autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid gland), “I wasn’t afraid, I was resistant,” the star, 53, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue, on stands Friday. “I was like ‘Who are these doctors, what are they talking about, ugh, ugh.’”
Still, the queen of daytime TV gossip knew something was seriously off with her body and heeded the warning, taking her first-ever hiatus from her hit talk show. “I had a storm going in my body is the best way I can explain it,” she says of experiencing Graves’ symptoms like high blood pressure and eye protrusion in the midst of going through menopause. “I love doing my show. But I love me more.”
Instructed to rest, the star spent her time off avoiding phone calls (“I didn’t want anyone going back to their all-girl crew to gossip about what’s going on with Wendy”) and relaxing at the New Jersey home she shares with her husband of 20 years Kevin Hunter, and their 17-year-old son Kevin, Jr.
It was Hunter who took her health scare the hardest. “My husband was extremely concerned,” says Williams. “He’s not just my husband, he’s my business partner, one of the executive producers on the show and he’s also my manager. He and I are glued at the hip.”
“He was with me every step,” she says of Hunter, who shuffled her to and from doctor’s appointments in New York City. “For him, seeing me go through all of this, it’s really been trying on him. I’ve been concerned about him. I’m like, ‘Don’t worry about me!’”
Now back on the air with a clean bill of health, Williams has a whole new outlook.”There’s a lot of smart women doing dumb things with their health and I fell into that category as well,” she says of having skipped out on her doctor’s appointments for work and family commitments. “I’m glad my situation was caught in a timely manner.”
And she says she’s not the least bit interested in slowing down. “I’m too young for all the ‘woo, woo, woos’. I’m not that girl. I feel fabulous,” she says before posing her favorite question, “How are you doin’?”