What Happened to Wendy Williams' Money?: Everything Her Family and Guardian Have Said About the Ailing Star's Finances

The talk show host's family told PEOPLE they "took it personally" amid online rumors they were after her millions

<p>Johnny Nunez/WireImage</p> Wendy Williams

Johnny Nunez/WireImage

Wendy Williams

Wendy Williams’ shocking story is still making headlines, nearly a month after news of her health battle with dementia and her life under guardianship surfaced amid the release of Lifetime’s Where Is Wendy Williams?  documentary.

Last week, new court documents were released detailing the ongoing battle between Williams’ legal and financial guardian Sabrina Morrissey and Lifetime’s parent company A+E Networks. The documents, which discuss the documentary and reference the status of Williams’ hotly debated finances, bring the mystery surrounding her money back into the spotlight. 

Last month, the star’s family, including sister Wanda Finnie, 65, and niece Alex Finnie, 33, opened up to PEOPLE about their side of the story, sharing details of what they claim happened when Williams first went under financial guardianship and what's happened to her money since then. 

<p>Roy Rochlin/WireImage</p> Wendy Williams

Roy Rochlin/WireImage

Wendy Williams

Back in early 2022, Williams’s family, including her son Kevin Hunter, Jr., 23, with ex-husband Kevin Hunter, came under fire online when Wells Fargo froze the star’s accounts after her financial adviser at the time alleged that she was of “unsound mind,” according to Williams’ court filings. The bank successfully petitioned a New York court to have Williams placed under temporary financial guardianship, reportedly because she was at risk of financial exploitation due to cognitive issues. 

Related: Wendy Williams Doc Producers Cite Britney Spears' Conservatorship Case as Reason for Releasing Lifetime Series

Williams’ son was heavily implicated at the time, given his status as her power of attorney and reports of a large sum of money taken out of her account, which raised flags at the bank. A spokesperson for the financial services company has since shared with PEOPLE: "This matter was conducted under seal. Any claims against Wells Fargo have been dismissed."

“I took it very personally,” Wanda has told PEOPLE about dealing with online accusations against her nephew and their entire family at that time. “I wondered where the hell that information would’ve come from and I don’t know where. All I know is that Wendy and her team walk into the court room one way and they walk out and the family is completely excluded.” 

Manny Carabel/Getty Wendy Williams
Manny Carabel/Getty Wendy Williams

Immediately before the guardianship decision, Williams was on hiatus from her show due to health reasons and was staying with family in Florida where she was receiving care. Asked if the star voiced concerns at that time about her finances in relation to their family, Alex said: “No. She didn’t bring that up. However there was a period where there were soft spots with my aunt, and there is always going to be the question of were there certain people that took advantage of that and those soft spots. And I think that those questions are valid.” 

Related: Wendy Williams' Guardian's Lawsuit Unsealed, Claims Lifetime Doc 'Shamelessly Exploits' Star amid Health Troubles

Stopping short of identifying specific persons, Alex continued, “It breaks my heart when you see people like my aunt who are vulnerable and people look for that in, and that is what we have seen throughout these few years. It pisses me off to no end.”

In the documentary, which began filming after the guardianship was instituted, Williams is shown to ask “Where is my money?” and discuss being broke and having no access to her accounts, though, in one scene, Williams’ manager Will Selby is shown handing the star a large stack of cash. 

<p>Calvin Gayle</p> Wendy Williams

Calvin Gayle

Wendy Williams

Lawyers for Williams’ guardian allege in court documents that Lifetime "incorrectly states that [Williams] is 'broke' and cruelly implies that her disoriented demeanor is due to substance abuse and intoxication.” The court documents also reveal Williams was paid $400,000 for her participation in the film.

Details of Williams’ current financial holdings have not been made public. PEOPLE has obtained paperwork from the New York Department of Finance filed on Feb. 8 showing that there is currently a tax lien against the $4.5 million condo Williams once owned for the amount of $568,451.57, accrued between 2019 and 2021. Lawyers for Morrissey have declined to comment.

Related: Wendy Williams' Publicist Featured in Shocking Lifetime Doc Defends Herself amid Uproar: 'I Was Lied To' (Exclusive)

When it comes to Williams’ son, he speaks out in the documentary about the rumors against him. Kevin shares that his mom has always spent large amounts due to her extravagant lifestyle and that for the time she was in his care in Florida, she signed off on all financial decisions. “I’ve never taken [money] without her consent,” he said in the film.

<p>Michael Tran/FilmMagic</p> Wendy Williams and son, Kevin Hunter Jr. attend the ceremony honoring Wendy Williams with a Star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame held on October 17, 2019.

Michael Tran/FilmMagic

Wendy Williams and son, Kevin Hunter Jr. attend the ceremony honoring Wendy Williams with a Star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame held on October 17, 2019.

Williams' sister and niece said that to their knowledge this is true. “Wendy lavished three people in her life, her son and her parents,” Wanda says of her nephew as well as her parents Thomas Williams, Sr., 93, and the late Shirley Williams, who had become fixtures in the audience of their daughter's talk show.

Related: The Biggest Bombshells from Lifetime's Where Is Wendy Williams? Documentary Currently Under Litigation

According to Wanda, a retired attorney, “Wendy, Kevin and Kevin [Jr.] had their lifestyle up in New Jersey that was different than any lifestyle the rest of the family had,” she said, adding, “Wendy spent money in ways that none of us could ever even imagine.” 

That said, Wanda said that the star’s fame didn’t impact the rest of the family. “There are a lot of people who never even knew Wendy was my sister, because I never really talked about it in the 30 years she was in the business. Because all she is to me is Wendy Williams, my sister, not Wendy the show girl. As a family we were all just so proud of her.” 

<p>Bruce Glikas/Getty</p> Kevin Hunter, wife Wendy Williams and son Kevin Hunter Jr pose at a celebration for The

Bruce Glikas/Getty

Kevin Hunter, wife Wendy Williams and son Kevin Hunter Jr pose at a celebration for The

Williams’ niece Alex said, “For me growing up, my aunt’s wealth was never really felt. Going from my Finnie household to the Williams household wasn’t like ‘Oh my goodness!’ We all come from good stock. My brother and I, our parents provided for us well. Kevin’s parents provided for him well.” 

As for Williams’ own penchant for very expensive things, evidenced in the documentary, “The showiness came around over the last few years,” says Alex. “We used to talk about the Walgreens leggings that we would get that were maybe 10 bucks. That was my aunt, the person who’d say ‘if it’s free it’s better.’”

<p>Dominik Bindl/Getty </p> Wendy Williams attends the Chiara Boni front row during New York Fashion Week

Dominik Bindl/Getty

Wendy Williams attends the Chiara Boni front row during New York Fashion Week

Wanda has said it was never about the money, it was about her sister’s well-being. “I don’t think there was anyone Wendy needed for her health more than her family,” she said. Though Wanda was initially asked if she would consider being her sister's guardian, she's said the offer was never fully extended and the courts cut off communication with her. In the documentary, she shares that she would have taken on the role of guardian, even if that didn’t include management of Williams' finances.

Related: Wendy Williams’ Family Members Say They Weren’t Told of Her New Dementia Diagnosis (Exclusive)

“I separate the Wells Fargo and the money part. All I want to know is that my sister is going to live and that she’s going to be healthy. I have said that from day one.” 

Williams, who thanked fans in a rare statement released after news of her diagnosis last month, is currently receiving treatment for dementia and aphasia at an undisclosed facility where she is able to contact family from a private number.

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