Vanna White: Interesting Things About the 'Wheel of Fortune' Hostess

Updated on December 10, 2019
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Margaret Minnicks has been an online writer for many years. She writes about various things, including celebrities and entertainment.

Vanna White has been the hostess of the popular ABC game show Wheel of Fortune since 1982. She was only 25 years old when she first started turning letters for America. She is now a 62-year-old mother of two adult children.

Vanna was one of three substitutes after hostess Susan Stafford left in October 1982. On December 13, 1982, officials gave Vanna the job as the regular hostess, and she has been turning and touching letters since then. White has a contract to be a hostess of Wheel of Fortune through 2022.

Vanna's Personal Life

Americans see Vanna smiling and clapping on Wheel of Fortune, but underneath that smile have been tragedies in her life. She was engaged to actor John Gibson in the 1980s. In 1986, Gibson was killed in an airplane crash. She later fell in love again and married restaurant owner George Santo Pietro in December 1990.

Two years later, she announced her first pregnancy on an episode of Wheel of Fortune. The announcement came as an answer to one of the puzzle. It read: "Vanna's pregnant." She suffered a miscarriage shortly after the taping. She and Pietro had a son, Nicholas in 1994 and a daughter, Giovanna (Gigi) in 1997. They divorced in November 2002.

White was engaged to businessman Michael Kaye from 2004 to 2006, but they called off their engagement. Vanna is still single.

Vanna White's Outfits

In 37 years, Vanna White has worn more than 6,700 different outfits. She has never repeated a single outfit. She doesn't get to keep any of them. Even though she dresses up on every show, she admits that she doesn't like to dress up. She says most of the clothes in her closet are t-shirts, jeans, tennis shoes, and flats.

According to Vanna, she doesn't own a sequin gown and that's fine with her. She doesn't dress up at home or when she goes out because she has to dress up all the time at work.

Vanna changes into six outfits in one day because episodes are taped back to back on the same day. The show's stylist selects Vanna's outfits from batches of clothes designers send. Most of the time, there are up to 50 outfits to choose from.

The hostess wears her own inexpensive shoes. She is not as tall as she appears. She usually wears 5 1/2-inch shoes. Even though they are high, Vanna says they are very comfortable.

The Hostess' Work Week

Most people think Vanna White has the easiest job in the world. How hard could touching letters on a board be? When she first started hostessing the game show, she turned the letters. Now she gently touches them.

People will probably get jealous when they find out that the hostess works only four days a month.

Vanna's Rules

There is more than knowing which letter to touch. Vanna has to follow some rules.

  • The hostess can't wear green because it will clash with the green letter board.
  • If she wears clothes that are too tight, it is hard to reach letters on the top row.
  • You have probably noticed that Vanna only goes halfway down the board and returns to the end nearest the last square she touches. It has been estimated that Vanna has walked more than 2,000 miles in front of the letter board.

Vanna's Honors

On April 20, 2006, the hostess was honored with a star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame.

White has a successful line of yarns called "Vanna's Choice" through Lion Brand Yarns. She donates half the proceeds to charity. She loves knitting so much she says she sneaks in some knitting behind the puzzle board during breaks in taping.

Vanna is in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the “most frequent clapper” in history. We see her clap, but viewers have no idea that she has clapped more than 3.4 million times. That was the number of times when she received the honor in May 2013. Now six years later, the number is much higher. Guinness officials estimate she claps an average of 606 times per show.

White was awarded $403,000 in damages after she sued Samsung Electronics in 1993 for mocking her in a humorous ad. She alleged it was a violation of her personal rights when the company featured a robot resembling her turning letters on a game show.

Vanna gets paid an annual salary of $8 million. Her total net worth today is $140 million she has accumulated from touching letters combined with her line of yarns.

Vanna Hosts the Show While Pat Sajak Recuperates

On November 8, 2019, taping for the show had to be stopped because host Pat Sajak required emergency surgery for a blocked intestine. On the spur of the moment, Vanna stepped in the complete the taping for three weeks. Her first hosting an entire episode aired on Monday, December 9. She said she was nervous to do it even though she has seen Sajak do it for the 35 years he has been there.

The first week Minnie Mouse replaced Vanna at the letter board. However, she didn't touch the letters. She merely pointed to them. One reason might be because the mouse is short and couldn't reach the top row. Mickey Mouse was the replacement during the second week. A mystery person has not been revealed yet for the third week.

Did you learn something new about Vanna White from this article?

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    • profile image

      Roy Wadsworth 

      8 months ago

      Love it

    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      21 months ago from Richmond, VA

      DREAM ON, I am glad to know you watch "Wheel of Fortune."

      Thanks for reading my article about Vanna White. I find her to be a very interesting person.

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 

      21 months ago

      I am always amazed at how fast some people get the answers. I always found Vanna White very beautiful. Now I can add smart to that list. Anyone who can find their nitch and enjoy doing for so many years and making people happy is a great thing. I never gave her outfits a thought. I was too focused on trying to find the answer before the contestants. Which I very seldom could do. Thank you so much for writing and sharing.

    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      21 months ago from Richmond, VA

      Tim, Yes, Vanna White is an interesting person. I wanted to share the article because there is more to her life than merely touching letters, smiling and clapping. I love finding out unique things and sharing.

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 

      21 months ago from U.S.A.

      I really liked this article, Margaret. I smiled. 36 years with Ms. White on that show? It's amazing how many times she changes in one day.

      I'll look at the "Wheel of Fortune" in a different way now thanks to your informative and entertaining article. My prayers will be with Ms. White. She seems like a nice person.

      Great job as always.

      Much respect,


    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      21 months ago from Richmond, VA

      Louise, I thought there was a version of Wheel of Fortune worldwide but with different hosts. It is a very popular game show here in the US.

      I like watching it, and I know most of the answers.

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      21 months ago from Norfolk, England

      We used to have Wheel of Fortune here in England, but they stopped making that show. Although they still show the old re-runs on one of the channels. I used to like watching this show.


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