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Wendy Williams documentary producers wouldn't have filmed her if they'd known she had dementia

Wendy Williams' dementia diagnosis was announced last week, and the producers of her explosive documentary say that had they known she was suffering, they wouldn't have filmed her.

A two-part documentary about Wendy Williams was released over the weekend, and the footage was shocking to see.

Just before the premiere, it was revealed that Williams was diagnosed with "primary progressive aphasia and frontotemporal dementia (FTD)," and now producers are admitting that if they had known she was suffering from the disease, they never would have done the documentary.

Producer Mark Ford, executive producer Erica Hanson and Brie Miranda Bryant, an executive at Lifetime, spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about the difficult experience of filming Williams as she clearly struggled.


In a discussion about whether the documentary is exploitative, Ford explained that things were edited in a certain way because, "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."

He added, "But, of course, if we had known that Wendy had dementia going into it, no one would’ve rolled a camera."

Bryant explained, "The diagnosis that was announced was not the information that any of us had going into it. So, people were watching the journey with information that we didn’t have in those first two hours, and I think that’s part of the confusion and the upset and outrage."

Ford also told the outlet, "This project never would’ve aired if we couldn’t steer it toward the hopeful ending or the ending that we have here with the family engaging and telling their story. I don’t want to speak for Brie, but we never would’ve aired something that didn’t have Wendy’s best interests and her family’s best interests at heart."


Last Thursday, just two days before the first part of the documentary aired, Williams' temporary legal guardian, Sabrina Morrissey, filed a lawsuit under seal in New York County Supreme Court against A&E, according to USA Today. Morrissey sued Lifetime for injunction relief and a temporary restraining order in an effort to halt the airing of the documentary, according to the outlet.

The effort was clearly unsuccessful.

"It was a lot of drama at the end!" Bryant said. "All I can say is, it took us all by surprise. But we were relieved that our legal teams were able to come to terms and just grateful that we made it to air."


Ford argued, "Ultimately, it’s a First Amendment issue. Nobody should have the power to quash Wendy’s voice, and her family’s voice. And thankfully, the courts understood that that was the most important thing, and the free press won out here."

They all insisted that Williams was happy to be filmed, and while Hanson admitted that "some days were better than others," she said, "we always talked to Wendy about what we were doing, and she definitely had opinions and she weighed in."

She had some ideas about filming that made their way into the documentary, such as her visit to Miami to see her family. Still, Ford said, "There were incredibly bad days, and there’s a lot of footage we shot that no one will ever see."


Later, he said, "We were constantly having conversations about whether [the documentary] is worthwhile, whether this serves Wendy’s story and helps her move forward. But at a certain point, the story was also about the reality of the situation that this woman finds herself in. And it’s not a pretty reality. It’s not a nice thing to watch."

Williams got her start as a shock jock on a New York City radio station, and went on to host her controversial talk show, "The Wendy Williams Show." She has largely remained out of the spotlight since her show was canceled in June 2022, but the new documentary attempted to capture Wendy's comeback as she launched a podcast career, only to witness her struggles with alcohol addiction and health issues.

The crew stopped filming in April 2023 when Wendy entered a facility to allegedly treat "cognitive issues" reportedly due to alcohol abuse. Her family has claimed, in an interview with People magazine, that they solely communicate with Wendy through a court-appointed legal guardian.

Fox News Digital's Ashley Hume and Tracy Wright contributed to this report.

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