Vanna White is thankful she’s had the support of loved ones to help her cope with some of the biggest heartaches of her life.
Woman’s World magazine reported that not only did the “Wheel of Fortune” icon lose her mother to cancer in 1980 when she was 24, but six years later she also lost her boyfriend, “The Young and the Restless” actor John Gibson, in a plane crash. Then, in 1992, she suffered a devastating miscarriage, followed by a 2002 divorce from restaurateur George Santo Pietro after 12 years of marriage. They had two kids.
White, 61, told Woman’s World she has learned to lean on loved ones “in good times and bad.”
“I talk to my 93-year-old dad every day,” said White. “And though my mom isn’t physically here with me, I know she’s with me in everything that I do.”
White added she also finds comfort in stepping away from the limelight when possible.
“Whenever I’m going through something stressful, I try to go into a quiet place in nature and just be,” she shared. “When your brain is going 1,000 miles per hour and you need to calm down, nature’s the best thing.”
But White doesn’t mind being in the spotlight. In fact, she finds great joy in using her fame to give back.
“Helping others bring me so much joy!” she said. “I love to work with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. All the money they get goes to helping children, and I so wanted to be a part of that. So, I made my own yarn called ‘Vanna’s Choice’ and donate all the proceeds to St. Jude. But giving back doesn’t have to be that extravagant — even in small ways, making others happy just makes me happy.”
Back in 2017, White told Fox News one of the triumphs of her life was leading a successful, 36-year career with “Wheel of Fortune.”
“There’s one time that still sticks out to me,” White recalled on the moment she made it big. “I remember standing in line at the grocery store and I was on the cover of Newsweek. I looked at the cover [while waiting in line] and went, ‘Wow, I think I made it!’ That was the moment for me. The other one was when I got my star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. When I first moved to Los Angeles, I was walking down the Hollywood Walk of Fame and I would tell myself, ‘One day I’m going to have my own star.”
White also shared she didn’t envision herself retiring anytime soon.
“I’m sure I will one day, but I’m enjoying my job so much,” she explained. “I don’t want to retire. I hope to continue doing it for as long as I can.”
When it came to regrets from her career, White recalled being embarrassed about appearing on the 1987 cover of Playboy.
“Here’s the thing,” she explained at the time. “When I first moved to Hollywood, I was too embarrassed to ask my dad for rent money. I was young and I wanted to do it on my own. So, I did these lingerie shots and from the moment I said I would do them, I thought, ‘I shouldn’t be doing this, but I’m not going to ask my dad for money, so I’m just going to do it!’ Once I got ‘Wheel of Fortune’ and some fame, Hugh Hefner then bought those photos. He’s the one who put me on the cover of the magazine. I didn’t do it for Playboy.
“I did not want them on there, but it happened. I was very thankful that I had such support behind me. I remember going on ‘Johnny Carson’ and saying, ‘I’m so sorry, this is what happened.’ And this is a lesson that applies today: Never do anything that you don’t want to do. Listen to your instincts and follow it. I said, ‘I made a mistake, I’m sorry and I just hope I don’t lose my job over it.’ Fortunately, I didn’t. I could have, you know? It was a great lesson to learn, but what can I say? I did something I shouldn’t have done.”