Vanna White has been a household name for decades. Her presence on “Wheel of Fortune” is every bit as pivotal as Pat Sajak’s, and the show wouldn’t be what it is without the two of them.
White has been with the popular game show for 37 years now, and she’s gone through many life experiences during that time.
In 1986, she lost her fiancé John Gibson — an actor from “The Young and the Restless” — during a tragic plane accident.
“It was May 17, 1986,” White told People in a recent interview. “The second I heard about it, I fell to my knees. It was just devastating.”
While she may have been one of the more public sufferers, there were others who cared for her or themselves lost loved ones in a crash, and White was overwhelmed with how many people made an effort to reach out to her.
“I heard from so many people who had shared the same experience of losing someone instantly in an accident, and that really helped me,” she said. “I didn’t feel like I was alone. Because when something like that happens, you immediately think you’re the only one.”
Another painful time of her life took place in 1992. She was married to George Santo Pietro, and the couple was expecting their first baby.
“I so wanted to be pregnant and have a baby, so then when I finally got pregnant, I wanted to tell the world immediately,” she said.
She wanted the world to know, so she announced her pregnancy during the show, incorporating it into the game as one of the answers.
It was only a week later that she lost her pregnancy.
“Obviously I lost the baby, which was devastating after announcing it. The good news is I was able to get pregnant again and had two beautiful, healthy children,” she said.
“But losing a child — there’s nothing good about that.”
“Vanna told me there’s always a reason for things happening,” Herbert White, Vanna’s father, told the The Orlando Sentinel in September 1992. “She’s taking it well; Vanna’s a trouper, and she said she’ll be trying again.”
An anonymous source also confirmed that Vanna White was tough, no matter how delicate she may seem.
“Vanna is a fighter and she’s emotionally stronger than she might appear to the public,” the source told Closer Weekly in 2017.
But even the strongest soul can use support and love when going through a difficult time, and White has made it clear that her fans and her faith play a major role in her life and resilience.
“You have to take their support and try to be strong. It’s so hard, but you just have to think, ‘What would they want me to do?'” she told People.
“I’m a Christian and have always had my own personal relationship with God,” she added. “I don’t preach about it, because everyone’s entitled to their own beliefs. But I pray. I pray every day.”
For now, she’ll keep on at the job she loves — and that seems to love her so much.
“We’re one big family,” she said, referring to “Wheel of Fortune.”
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