Wendy Williams Doc Producers: “If We’d Known She Had Dementia, No One Would’ve Rolled a Camera”

Published: Tuesday 27th Feb 2024 by Sam

Wendy Williams has long been renowned for delivering Hot Topics, however recent times have seen the star’s life serve as the headline grabber in and of itself.

From the infidelity-driven implosion of her marriage to battles with addiction to erratic behavior to the end of her long-running talk show, the later years of Williams’ journey have been a rollercoaster; one that has spun oh so publicly.

This past week saw fresh chapters of controversy added to her narrative in the wake of the premiere of Lifetime‘s ‘Where Is Wendy Williams?’ documentary, the shock disclosure from the host’s healthcare team that she is battling dementia, and the last-minute legal moves her guardian actioned to seemingly prevent the broadcast of the four-hour special.

Now, amidst ample discourse about whether the documentary ought to have aired in the first place in light of Williams’ visible condition, producer Mark Ford has opened up about the process of piecing together the project.

He also shared behind-the-scenes insights, which paint a much more layered picture of the reality of Williams’ predicament, the family’s goal in signing off on the venture, and the hopeful outcome.

More than anything, he is emphatic in his stance that had the dementia diagnosis been made apparent beforehand, there never would have been a documentary.

Full story below…

Speaking with THR, Ford said of the original concept of the doc:

“It was supposed to be a documentary that would follow her journey back into her career doing a podcast. We thought it was a great idea, and we were hopeful that Wendy’s story would be redeeming and we’d be able to document this journey. But as we filmed, it became evident that this wasn’t really going to be a career comeback story, that this was going to be a deeper story, and that there was something ultimately disturbing going on in Wendy’s life.”

Continuing, he revealed:

“We had many, many conversations about what to keep in the film, what to leave out, how to tell the story, how to flash back into the past and answer questions, when to reveal certain information. But ultimately, we stuck to the truth of our journey as filmmakers. And when you watch the film, it’s almost like you’re on the journey of discovery with us. And look, our responsibility as filmmakers, one, is to make sure our subject is safe and ends up in a safe place. But beyond that, it’s the truth. We have to show the truth, even when that truth is painful to watch. Because, what if we didn’t show it? What if Wendy was still in that apartment? What would’ve happened if the film didn’t come along when it did, to be a little bit of a spark plug and an engine to push those people around her to get her to significant care?”

He added:

“We tried to be as transparent as possible, and the making of the film is as much a story in some ways as Wendy’s story itself. And that’s why we intentionally left a lot of the questions in — we wanted people to understand the journey of the filmmakers and how upsetting it was for all of us in certain instances and also how outrageous in some ways the situations were. Like, Wendy would be left alone without food, completely on her own in that apartment with stairs that she could easily fall down. There was no one there 24/7. So, these are just all the questions we had throughout. But, of course, if we had known that Wendy had dementia going into it, no one would’ve rolled a camera.”

Opening up about the family’s motivations for being aboard the project (though, not being at the helm), fellow producer Erica Hanson shared:

“I think we really gradually built trust with the family. And it started with Alex [Finnie, Wendy’s niece] and then with Wendy’s son [Kevin Hunter Jr.]. With Wanda, it did take a while, but I think she finally felt that she did know information that was important. And she felt that it was important for her to fill in some blanks and for the family to be united. They all acknowledged that they’re not the perfect family, and that they have been fractured. But I feel like they realized they needed to come together and to figure this out with Wendy. And listen, I knew very little about guardianships but, how is it possible that a child can’t call their mother? How is it possible that she can call him, but then what if the call gets missed? I just don’t understand. And how is it possible that the family doesn’t know her healthcare situation or where she is?” 

Concluding on a note about the family’s stance, Hanson said:

“I’d just add that we watched the film with the family, and in subsequent conversations after it’s aired, they’ve been very supportive. They really had no notes at all. They all are very supportive of it.”

With that, what are…

Your thoughts?

Posted under:

Comments 3

Please Post Your Comments & Reviews

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Please Fix It🥱 February 27, 2024

    I can’t even read anything anymore on your site due to the page length ads. Please fix or consider me out.

    • eric February 27, 2024

      I had to install Ad Blocker and it all went away.

  2. eric February 27, 2024

    There were some moments that were framed for shock value, like trying to get Wendy’s niece to open the fridge and find it empty, but the large majority was a sincere and meaningful effort. It gave a lot of insight about substance abuse and mental health. I liked seeing the closeness in her family and how Wendy was allowed to express herself without them stopping and correcting every thought or misunderstanding she had. It’s a very worthwhile documentary and I think it should be talked about more.

Recommended Posts