Hot Topic: Wendy Williams is a star!
“He’s always encouraged me to keep it going,” she told PEOPLE at the ceremony. “And never asks me to pull back from anything that I say or that I wear or anything like that. He’s always been very encouraging.”
“So now, it’s just the two of us against the world,” added Williams, 55.
Along with thanking her son and the crew on The Wendy Williams Show, the host addressed her tumultuous year after splitting from her ex-husband Kevin Hunter in April. (At the end of August, Williams confirmed that she decided to divorce Hunter, her husband of 21 years, once she learned that he’d impregnated a woman with whom he was having an affair.)
“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,” she told the crowd. “And this is one of those monumental days, that, you say, ‘if you don’t believe in yourself, who’s going to believe in you?’ “
“Sometimes life is a very, very lonely path,” she continued. “You just have to make some hard decisions.”
Williams also recognized that moving up in the entertainment business has proven to be a challenge, admitting to PEOPLE that it’s “twice as tough” as a woman.
“I will recognize when it’s time to give up, but I’ve only been unemployed for two months out of 30-something years,” she said. “I’m not one to give up.”
Williams explained that when she transitioned from radio to television, “everyone was looking for the next Oprah,” but she knew she would make her own mark and build her own show.
“Everybody kind of squinted. It was just difficult to see the lone black girl on TV,” she told the crowd. “Oprah had just left and that’s all we could think about was the next Oprah. And I’m like, ‘No, I’m no Oprah.’ My spirit can’t sit in and talk about the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) all day.”
“I like to have fun,” she continued. “And 11 years later I still like to have fun. And when I don’t like to have fun, you’ll see those double doors open. I’m still having fun doing this.”
The “king of all radio” Elvis Duran — as Williams described him — presented the New Jersey-born star with the award.
“She gives us the courage to share our opinions,” he said on stage. “We learn from you. You know what, sometimes we live in a world where people don’t agree with everything you say. Fine, but I have a right to say what I want to say and I gotta tell you, you have swayed a lot of people your direction and your opinions. Everyone loves you.”
Earlier this month, Williams said she couldn’t “breathe” as she reminded her fans of the big day.
“Here’s the thing. It’ll be the — and we’ve counted it down to set the 2677th star,” Williams said. “Now in the bigger scheme of Hollywood, I would have thought that there were way more than that. I mean, have you ever walked out? Have you ever been outside and on the sidewalk and walk that? Like I’ve walked it before. It just seems impossible.”
"I'm getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame." The secret is out! On Oct. 17 Wendy is getting a star. Get the full details today's Hot Topics and more. Watch now at https://t.co/lr7W0GoLnB. pic.twitter.com/xhIqNAPBMR— Wendy Williams (@WendyWilliams) October 8, 2019
Williams added that she was excited to get her star in “a good neighborhood” next to Ryan Murphy and Jason Bateman, adding that “you don’t want to be in the way dead zone [with] people who have been dead for 100 years.”
On the show, she announced that Duran and FOX Television Stations CEO Jack Abernethy would speak on her behalf.
“I wanted to get some heavy hitters, man,” she said. ”So I reached out, like on a wing and a prayer. And I’m glad they both said yes.”
Williams invited her fans to “please report to the dance floor of the star” to celebrate the recognition.
“I want to feel it. Feel it. Feel it,” she said.
The New Jersey native has been in media for over 30 years. Recently, The Wendy Williams Show was extended through 2022. Williams has been nominated as outstanding entertainment talk show host four times at the Daytime Emmys, while the show itself has received nods twice.
Before joining the small screen, Williams hosted her radio show “The Wendy Williams Experience” for 23 years, reaching an audience of over 12 million people. She’s also made appearances on 30 Rock, Dancing with the Stars and hosted the Game Show Network’s Love Triangle.
Along with TV and radio hosting, Williams has written seven books. She’s also developing a documentary and biopic for Lifetime about her ascent from radio to television.