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April 5, 2019
by Ruth Gordon, MA, MSW, LCSW

Wendy Williams: The Treachery of the Persona

April 5, 2019 17:37 by Ruth Gordon, MA, MSW, LCSW  [About the Author]

A probably too hot spotlight has been focused on TV host Wendy Williams for at least four months. Williams, who boasts that she shares info regarding her personal life with her viewers, has been keeping a big secret. Ms. Williams has a serious alcohol and pill problem. In the past she overcame an addiction to cocaine.
It has come to light that Wendy, who, reportedly, makes $8M per year, has been residing in a sober house in what looks like a run down neighborhood. Her living quarters are over a ground-level barbershop. Given that she owns a +$2M home a short distance away, the question has been raised as to why she is lodging in this particular location?
Wendy revealed her circumstances to her audience on March 21. Within days of her announcement she relapsed in a very public way. The apparent trigger was the birth of a child to her husband’s acknowledged mistress. Her husband, Kevin Hunter, has been supporting his inamorata, Sharina Hudson, for what looks like 10 years.
Wendy’s relapse and subsequent hospitalization, were covered in detail by the media. In spite of this, Wendy went on to host her show the next morning. It was as if nothing had happened. This might be perceived as courageous strength. In reality, Wendy hid behind her carefully constructed persona.The problem is that the persona is not the person. To hide the genuine self on a regular basis is to denigrate who one is.
To clarify, the word persona is from Latin and means theatrical mask. One of the problems that accompanies the adoption of such a mask is that it can have a nasty way of undermining its creator. The wearer is likely to confuse the real with the counterfeit.
Most individuals present the version of themselves that they are comfortable showing to the world. Sometimes an individual has a series of masks that are interchangeable, depending on the situation.
This, in and of itself, makes sense. One should consider possible consequences when nakedly exposing the self to the judgment of others. Make no mistake, judgement is ready to pounce at any given moment.
The persona is established to hide one’s vulnerability. When that process succeeds and an individual becomes disconnected from his/her frailties the question of “Who am I? Really?” becomes salient. It is easy for an individual to become confused as to his/her true identity.
Denying authenticity prevents one from feeling at home in one’s own skin. The human condition contains hidden longings, shame and sense of unease. At the very least, it is necessary to understand and embrace these not talked about hidden issues. They cannot be “pretended” away.
There is a saying “we are only as sick as our secrets”. It is important to embrace the totality of who one is. Accepting oneself without evaluation or interpretation is the first crucial step to self-acceptance. As a rule, it is necessary to share oneself with another. A suitable person would be a close friend or a therapist. This is a job that is hard to do alone.
Wendy, with her bold, controversial personality, camouflages her insecure, apprehensive self behind the antagonizing, sometimes nasty, firebrand that her audience sees. The public role that Wendy has taken carries with it the likelihood of personally- crafted and focused retribution.
In addition to that pressure, Wendy has what appears to be a marital situation heavily tilted in Kevin’s favor. It has been reported that Kevin Hunter keeps Wendy on a tight leash. He, on the other hand, is not held accountable by his wife. She does not question his comings and goings.
When their son, Kevin Jr., was an infant, Wendy overheard her husband’s intimate conversation with another woman. However that was resolved, Wendy has known about Kevin’s relationship with Sharina for a while. Kevin has stated openly that he loves both Wendy and Sharina. He has been quoted as saying that he can’t leave Wendy because he and Sharina would not be able to maintain their currently luxurious lifestyle. If this is accurate public knowledge one must conclude that Wendy has also heard this gossip. Even if it’s not true, it has to hurt.
It has been reported that there was an agreement between Wendy and Kevin that he would not have a child with Sharina. A daughter was born on March 26,2019. What action, if any, will be taken remains to be seen.
Now that it has been revealed that there are two very different Wendy’s, it is important to take a look at the sad situation that is her life. There are multiple reports that Kevin has been physically abusive to her with some regularity. When she, reportedly, fell in December, 2018 she sustained a hairline fracture on her shoulder. There have been several individuals who believe that Kevin’s rough treatment led to the injury. This has not been confirmed by either Wendy or Kevin.
It is not unusual for a person ,like Wendy, who hides behind a mask, to choose a partner who is seen as being powerful. This union allows the “weaker” of the pair to feel powerful by proxy. According to reports Kevin is the dominant actor in Wendy’s family drama. He is involved in the production of her show as well as being her personal manager. As noted above, he is not obligated to explain his whereabouts or the way in which he handles Wendy’s significant income.
When Wendy was in a rehabilitation facility in Delray Beach, Florida, Kevin brought Sharina to Delray with him. She did not visit Wendy, but she was there for Kevin to spend free time with.
Kevin also bought Sharina a luxury home near the home he shares with Wendy. His name is listed with Sharina’s on the mailbox. He also set Sharina up in a luxury condo in Ft. Lee, New Jersey. The rumor that he is in the process of selling both properties has not been verified.
While maintaining her persona of success and resilience, Wendy has isolated herself from herself. People are most comfortable when the inside and outside of their presentation match. It is not wise for anyone to attempt to cover up who he/she really is. The ultimate goal for those who wish to live a life with peace is to very seriously embrace all of who they are. It is not possible to live happily while engaging in self-loathing.
Those who care about Wendy are hoping she will find the strength to free herself from the damaging and humiliating relationship she currently shares with her husband. The rest of Wendy’s story remains to be told.

“Persona — The Mask We Wear”
Rorke, B(08/14/17) “ These are the 6 Reasons Women Fall for Really Bad Men”
Sen (11/02/11) “Seeing Through Your Fake Persona (and Realizing Your Authentic Self)
Swift,N “The Shady Side of Wendy Williams”
Weber, A (06/13/18) “Why Do We Hide Behind Masks?” outreach
Weber, J., PhD (07/17/14) “Ambivalent Men and the Women Who Love Them”

About the Author

Ruth Gordon Ruth Gordon, MA/MSW/LCSW

I bring with me +30 years of experience as a clinician. My Masters degrees are from: Assumption College, Worcester, MA, Master of Arts in Psychology & Counseling/ and Boston University School of Social Work, Boston, MA, an MSW in Clinical Social Work. This is the 11th year I have written a monthly newsletter that is sent to approximately 500 individuals. The archive can be found on my website,

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