"Well, for some time now and even today and beyond I have been living in a sober house," Williams emotionally revealed to her audience. "... And you know I've had a struggle with cocaine in my past. I never went to a place to get the treatment. I don't know how, except God was sitting on my shoulder and I just stopped."
According to a DailyMailTV report, 54-year-old Williams is being treated at a sober living residential facility for addiction to alcohol and prescription drugs. The outlet claims that Williams had been struggling with abusing alcohol and pills while recovering after she fractured her shoulder last December, and also alleges that Williams flew to Florida and checked into a detox and rehab facility during her extended break from The Wendy Williams Show that began in January and ended in March.
A source close to Williams tells ET she chose to reveal her living situation to her fans on Tuesday to get ahead of the DailyMailTV report.
"Wendy has been brave enough to make herself the face of addiction," the source says. "It's a disease and a very real and constant fight. It's been extremely difficult to put herself out there and be vulnerable (as this is such a private struggle), but it's too important a topic to ignore. She is known for keeping it real, and felt the need to keep it real for her fans. Wendy Williams knew that the Daily Mail story was breaking and she wanted to be honest with the viewers. She wanted it to be her story to tell."
"As Wendy Williams Hunter previously shared, she fractured her shoulder and has been on the mend," the family statement read at the time. "Over the past few days, Wendy has experienced complications regarding her Graves’ disease that will require treatment. Wendy will be under the strict supervision of her physicians, and as part of her care, there will be significant time spent in the hospital."
"What happened was, we were only supposed to be off for two weeks for Christmas vacation," she told her audience. "Towards the end of the two weeks, I was starting to feel thyroid issues. If you don’t know about them, it's a lifetime thing. They can really screw you over. So, they are adjusting my thyroid meds and the eyeballs are attached to the thyroid, which is my Graves' disease, and I always have equilibrium issues with my vertigo. I'm the kind of patient, if I cough, I am thinking, 'I am dying. I know I've gotten to that point.'"
Later in the show, Williams also shut down rumors that her marriage was in trouble amid the reports that her husband, Kevin Hunter, had allegedly been carrying on a decade-long affair with a massage therapist. A source told ET that 46-year-old Hunter was backstage at the show during her big return.
"I want to shout out to my husband. I'm still wearing my ring," Williams said. "He's my best friend, he's my lover, he's all this and he's all that. I know what you've been seeing and I know what the streets have been talking about."
"I am still very much in love with my husband," she continued. "Anybody who's been married for five minutes or 500 years, you know! Marriages are not easy. Don't ask me about mine until you see this [ring] gone. And it ain't going anywhere. Not in this lifetime."
"I was a functioning addict though," she candidly told ET. "I would report to work on time and I walked in and all of my coworkers, and including my bosses, would know but instead of firing me, you see, I would grab my headphones and arrogantly walk into the studio and dare them to fire me because I was making ratings."
“[A] functioning addict has several alarm clocks, you’re organized,” she continued. “It’s a miracle I was able to stop.”
Williams and her family started The Hunter Foundation in 2014 to help communities seek solutions to drug addiction and substance abuse, and launched their "Be Here" campaign last summer in order to help families combat the drug epidemic. Last week, she also launched the 888-5HUNTER hotline, a 24-hour help hotline that's staffed with certified recovery coaches who are able to conduct assessments and match callers with appropriate treatment facilities including detox, rehabilitation, sober living and outpatient centers. It also offers educational resources to those suffering from drug addiction or substance abuse, as well their families, loved ones and the public.
"We must all come together to respond to this crisis of addiction and substance abuse," Williams said in a statement about the hotline. "Everyone is at risk from the inner cities to more affluent communities. My family and I are very proud to partner with T.R.U.S.T. to get people the help that they so desperately need, especially if they or their families have given up hope. There is hope."
On Tuesday, Williams talked about her current day-to-day life, which she said only her husband and their 19-year-old son, Kevin Hunter, Jr., knew about.
"After I go to the Pilates, I go to several meetings all around town in the tri-state area," she shared. "And I see my brothers and sisters, caught up in their addiction and looking for help. They don't know I'm Wendy. They don't care I'm Wendy. There's no autographs. There is no nothing. It's the brothers and sisters caught up in the struggle."
"... After I finished my appointments, seeing my brothers and sisters, breaking bread, I am driven by my 24-hour sober coach back to the home that I live in, here in the tri-state with a bunch of smelly boys who have become my family," she continued. "They hog the TV and watch soccer. We talk and read and talk and read and then I get bored with them. ... So I go to my room, and I stare at the ceiling and I fall asleep to wake up and come back here to see you. So that is my truth. ... I know, either you are calling me crazy or the bravest woman you know. I don't care."