Vanna White recently took the reins of the "Wheel of Fortune" after Pat Sajak had emergency surgery. Her time co-hosting the show for nearly four decades has undoubtedly been amazing, but there's more to her than meets the eye. Read on to discover the ups and downs behind her sparkling smile!
1. Her Father Vanished
Life for Vanna White was rough right from the beginning. After Vanna White was born in South Carolina, her biological father vanished without a trace. Luckily enough, her stepfather Herbert White raised little White as his own, so she grew up using her mother's maiden name and her stepfather's last name. Herbert later became an accomplished real estate broker and owner of White's Realty, which went on to have a great influence on White's life.
2. Lost Her Beloved Mother
Time with families is fleeting. After White graduated, she decided to pursue her career in Hollywood when her mother died from cancer. Though it was painful for her, she learned to gain the strength to succeed. Also, she decided not to ask her stepfather for help with rent and instead tried making her way on her own.
3. Posed For Playboy
To make ends meet, the "Wheel of Fortune" star used her good looks and incredible physique to get a temporary job as a lingerie model. When she landed a spot on "Wheel of Fortune" and shot to fame, publisher Hugh Hefner purchased the photos and placed them on the cover of playboy. That really upset her and she later revealed that she had regrets about posing for the shots.
4. One Of The Happiest Days
In 1982, everything had finally come together after White rose out of 200 applicants to take over the letter-turning duties from former hostess Susan Stafford. On her journey to stardom she met the soap opera actor John Gibson, who asked White to marry him four years later. As you can imagine, it was one of the happiest moments of White's life. However, tragedy would strike a few months later.
5. Tragic Accident
Her fiancé Gibson died in a private plane crash, and it left White's heart shattered into a million pieces. Of course it was too much for her, but the overwhelming love from the show's fans gave her the strength to bounce back. As many people shared their experiences of losing their loved ones suddenly in an accident, she started to feel like she wasn't alone.
6. Found Love Yet Went Through Another Heartbreak
In 1990, White married film director and businessman George Santo Pietro and had a happy marriage for two years before she became pregnant. Just when things were going right for White, tragedy struck again as she suffered a miscarriage.
7. Received Support
Thanks to her fans' support and her faith in God, White recovered from her loss of a child. Much to her relief, the good news was that she was able to get pregnant again. So they decided to give it another try.
8. Trying Again
This time their dream of being parents was realized. They were blessed with a son Niko on June 10, 1994. Three years later, they welcomed a baby girl Gigi. After being together for several years, she and her husband had an amicable separation in 2002.
9. Love For The Third Time
After two marriages, White found love when she met her now-boyfriend, real estate developer John Donaldson. Having enjoyed the time with her partner and her job, she has no plan to retire. No matter what lies ahead, White is able to handle it with a positive attitude.
10. Sajak's Surgery
On November 8, the Wheel of Fortune suddenly tweeted that its taping on Thursday was canceled due to the emergency surgery the host Pat Sajak had undergone. Since the show was in the middle of taping, it needed a stand-in while Sajak recuperated.
11. Took Over For Pat
On December 9, White stepped away from the big letter board and took her first "Final Spin" of the iconic Wheel of Fortune on-air. The tasks were challenging, for she had to juggle the host's core duties of keeping the fast-paced game moving along and also pay close attention to all the contestants. Also, she had only one dry run before filming.
12. Her Biggest Mistake
Monday night's episode went off without a hitch. But with all her success on the show, she has unfortunately made one mistake. One time the wheel landed on the $500 spot, but Vanna misread where it had ended up, mistaking the position for the bankrupt spot. To her surprise, she was interrupted by one of the show's producers who was off-camera, so she had to spin it again.
13. World Record Holder
Though White has made one minor error in more than 7,000 episodes, she is well-known for her quick wit, captivating smile, and of course, her constant clapping for the contestants. She even earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for Clapping as she applauds an average of 600 times per show, adding up to 28,000 claps a season.
14. Fortune And Fame
Wheel of Fortune has been popular over three decades, so it's no surprise that White has led a comfortable life. It was even reported that she earned a whopping $4 Million per year with a work schedule of only 4 days a month. What's more, they shoot about 6 episodes of the show per day.
15. Almost No Vacation
You would probably think that with a salary and work schedule like that, White has plenty of time to enjoy life rather than working on anything else. Uh-oh, not for White! Besides hosting the Wheel of Fortune, she's also a big real estate investor.
16. More Interests
In 2017, White listed her Beverly Hills home on the market for $47.5 Million. She opened up that she loves using her income to invest in apartment buildings, and likes flipping houses. With a love for crochet, which White learned from her grandmother, she has even started her own yarn brand, Vanna's Choice.
17. Worldwide Recognition
Despite some roadblocks, White has continued to power through and achieve new milestones – she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2006 and filmed her 7,000th episode of Wheel of Fortune on May 10, 2019. Vanna White is now a household name in America. Perhaps deep down, she believes that life is full of surprises and that there is always light at the end of the tunnel.