Hostess of the beloved American TV show Vanna White suffered tremendous loss throughout the years. She experienced a miscarriage and lost her fiancé in a tragic accident.
“Wheel of Fortune” host Vanna White miscarried in September 1992. The Seattle Times reported that White had just announced her pregnancy through a puzzle on the show.
Her father, Herbert White, told Orlando Sentinel that during that time that she said there is always a reason for things happening while mentioning that she was processing the news well. Herbert added that his daughter is a trouper and would be trying again to have another baby.
Actress Vanna White during an interview on CBS "Sunday Morning" on March 1, 2020 | Photo: Getty Images
WHITE ON LOSING THE BABY
The South Carolina native lost the baby just a week after she announced that she was expecting. At the time, she was married to her now-former husband, restauranteur George Santo Pietro.
The pair wed in 1990 and welcomed two children within their marriage. Their son Nicholas, 27, was born in 1994 and is now a chef. They welcomed their daughter Giovanna, 24, in 1997 and divorced amicably in 2002.
Vanna White attends the 2014 Carousel of Hope Ball at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on October 11, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California | Photo: Getty Images
White was pregnant with the couple’s first child. She recalled the daunting experience during an interview with People in October 2019 and said:
“I so wanted to be pregnant and have a baby, so then when I finally got pregnant, I wanted to tell the world immediately.”
White continued: “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.”
Amid the ordeal, the now 64-year-old turned to friends, family, and fans for support. She remained hopeful, stating that she is a Christian and has always had a personal relationship with God. White mentioned that even though she does not preach about her faith, she prays every day.
Several years before her painful experience, White endured another heart-wrenching encounter when she lost her beloved fiancé, a soap opera actor from “The Young and the Restless,” John Gibson.
Gibson was killed in an airplane crash in 1986 when the aircraft he was flying crashed outside Van Nuys airport near Los Angeles. White relived the traumatic experience once again, sharing:
“It was May 17, 1986. The second I heard about it. I fell to my knees. It was devastating.”
"Wheel of Fortune" hostess Vanna White answers media questions prior to taping the show at the Broward County Convention Center on December 9, 2005 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida | Photo: Getty Images
She found comfort in her fans, who shared their similar tragic experiences of instantly losing a loved one in an accident and said it helped her cope with the situation.
White said she did not feel like she was alone because she believes when something of that nature unexpectedly occurs, a person immediately thinks they are the only one going through it.
THE MOURNING PROCESS
In January this year, she talked about the mourning process during that time on the “Tamron Hall Show” and said she found it difficult to lose someone she loved that way while having to grieve in the limelight.
White said despite the circumstances back then, she felt loved and protected by her fans, who reached out to her and made things a bit easier.
FINDING LOVE AGAIN
Moreover, following her divorce from Santo Pietro, she found love again and announced on the game show “Wheel of Fortune” in 2002 that she was engaged to businessman Michael Kaye.
A friend revealed to Closer Weekly in October 2017 that Kaye was different from the actress's ex-husband, making him a perfect fit for her. The insider described Kaye as low-key and a bit of a homebody, something he had in common with White.
Still, their relationship did not last long enough as the “Goddess of Love” star ended their romance more than a year after announcing their engagement.
In 2012, White’s friends introduced her to her current significant other, John Donaldson, a contractor. The star herself once told Closer that he is a kind, understanding man who lets her be, adding:
"Today, I am happy just the way things are.”
Another friend concurred, revealing that despite all the hardships White has gone through, she is in a good space while stating she is a fighter and is emotionally strong.
FACTS ABOUT WHITE
Apart from her struggles, White is America's sweetheart and one of the longest-running hosts of the popular syndicated show "Wheel of Fortune. The TV series has been ranked the No.1 program since 1984.
In April 1987, APS News reported that then-30-year-old White was the most famous television prop in history, known as the letter-turner on the show.
White has been part of the series for nearly four decades and landed the dream job in 1982. She recalled in 2019 that when she first auditioned for the show, she was super nervous that her lips and knees were shaking.
But it was her onscreen chemistry between her and her longtime co-host Pat Sajak that the show’s creator Merv Griffin saw her potential and offered her the letter-turning gig.
Of the decision, White shared that Griffin said their chemistry was like brotherly and sisterly, adding that in the three decades that had been on air together, she and Sajak never had a single fight in real life.
Regarding her position on the show, the “Vanna Speaks” author said she has no intention to retire anytime soon, saying they are one big family.
White was also the spokeswoman for a mattress company back then and appeared on Bob Hope’s Easter Special on NBC-TV. She also got modeling jobs and movie bit parts before auditioning alongside 200 aspirants for “Wheels of Fortune.”
White’s career heightened when the tabloids revealed a photo of her in Playboy and her $5.2 million damage suit against the magazine.
At the time, she explained that she did the shoot to pay for rent when she was struggling, sleeping on the floor. The “Gypsy Angels” star added she was too proud to ask her father to help her out.
With that said, many years later, in her flourishing career, the pictures resurfaced, and she noted that it was embarrassing and called out the media for how they tainted her public image.
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