Vanna White Opens Up About How Personal Tragedy Has Changed Her Relationship With Her Faith

by Stephanie Kaloi

Vanna White is currently quite busy: as Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak is recuperating from emergency surgery, Vanna has stepped in to host the show herself.

While speaking to People about taking on this role, she also ended up opening up about her own journey with religion and spirituality. She began the conversation by saying, “I grew up religious. I was baptized a Baptist, and I’ve always had my own personal relationship with God.”

That relationship has definitely been strengthened through the personal tragedies the 62-year-old cohost has weathered. Vanna credits her religious journey with helping her recover after her fiancé died in a plane wreck in 1986, and again when she suffered a miscarriage a week after announcing her pregnancy in a puzzle on the show.

Vanna did note that while she is a believer, she doesn’t expect others to be. “I don’t preach, because everyone’s entitled to their own beliefs,” she shared. “I don’t judge anyone for whatever religion they are. This is my religion and I speak openly about it, but again, I would never preach.”

Vanna also notes that she prays “every day” and that after the devastating loss of her fiancé, she heard from people all over the world who had experienced something similar. The support from fans of Wheel of Fortune was powerful.

Vanna explained, “I heard from so many people who had shared the same experience of losing someone instantly in an accident, and that really helped me. I didn’t feel like I was alone. Because when something like that happens, you immediately think you’re the only one.”

She leaned heavily on her faith again after her first pregnancy ended in miscarriage. “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. … But losing a child — there’s nothing good about that.”

Fortunately, Vanna was able to have more children down the road. She is a mom to daughter Gigi and son Niko, and she appears to really adore being a mother. She once said, “I’m a mom, a full-time mom when I’m not taping. I do the carpool thing, and bake the cookies, and do the homework.”

Her stint as full-time host of Wheel of Fortune will be short-lived, but she says that her job as letter-turner will be around forever. “We’re one big family,” she said about the cast and crew of the show. “It’s wonderful.”

In fact, earlier this year Vanna said that she and Pat have had only one fight — about a hot dog! When speaking of the fight, she said, “Believe it or not, Pat Sajak and I have only had one argument in 36 years and that was over putting ketchup on a hotdog.”

Pat’s emergency surgery came as a surprise to everyone involved in the show, and the team had to cancel taping for one day. They quickly announced via social media, “Our taping on Thursday was canceled because host Pat Sajak underwent successful emergency surgery to correct a blocked intestine. He is resting comfortably and looking forward to getting back to work. Taping resumed today as scheduled, and Vanna White has stepped in as host.”

Pat Sajak has been hosting the show since 1982. The show is the longest-running syndicated game show on television in the US, and last year the team taped their 7,000th episode. Vanna’s first episode as host will debut on December 9, 2019.

Vanna’s first episode is sure to be a popular one. In addition to it being totally new that she’s hosting, she will be joined by some pretty big names: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and Pluto! It’s unclear what exactly the Disney favorites are doing on the show, but it’s sure to be a fun episode to watch.

After 37 years, it’s really special that fans continue to clamor for information about Vanna and Pat. When she recently shared a glimpse of her impressive Wheel of Fortune dressing room, people couldn’t get enough of her expansive collection of gowns. Her positive energy, both on the show and off, is definitely something that people appreciate.