By Charreah Jackson
Underneath that big personality and even bigger hair, hustler Wendy Williams is a hopeless romantic. Crediting the support and guidance of her husband/manager Kevin Hunter, the radio queen returns to the small screen today after last summer’s successful six-week sneak peek of her daytime talk show on FOX. Williams isn’t giving up details on the celebrity guests she will welcome, but she’s opening up on her crazy year in the tabloids, how allegations of an affair made her marriage stronger than ever, and what other plans she’s got up her sleeve.

ESSENCE.COM: Congrats on the return of “The Wendy Williams Show” to daytime television. What can we expect to see?
We’re sticking to the formula with a little more pink. People will quickly understand this is not Jerry Springer or Maury or the Larry King show. I’m discussing the hot topics in the news and, of course, celebrity interviews. I hope when people come to town, whether it’s George Clooney or George Lopez, that they would not just stop at Letterman or Regis and Kelly, but also stop by “The Wendy Williams Show.” Our audience goes to the movies, watches TV and buys clothing. This is just lighthearted conversation and good times.

ESSENCE.COM: So what’s the biggest misconception folks have about you?
I honestly don’t believe I’m as shocking as people say that I am. When you’re in radio, people like to call you either a deejay or a shock jock, with nothing in between. I’m multidimensional. I’m a simple woman from Jersey, and I don’t think I’m any more curious than anyone else. I’m not mean spirited or out to get people. Some people are wall flowers, and some get in the game of life. I get in the game. There’s nothing shy about me.

ESSENCE.COM: That’s part of your appeal. Last year you were on the other side of the microphone, having people in your business and marriage concerning harassment allegations from your former coworker against your husband. Was it tough being in the hot seat, and how did it impact your marriage?
It was difficult and I was a good sport. There was a time I was on that side not doing the interviewing, but being a victim. It was hard to see the horrible lies. However, for us, it made our relationship that more tighter. He’s an executive producer on the show so we were busy during that time and stayed focused on the prize, which is our 11-year marriage, my 23-year career and how we are going to make it bigger and better than ever, and our 8-year-old son. I don’t think I could do this if he weren’t in the trenches with me. We live hard and laugh often.

ESSENCE.COM: Success is great to have someone to share with. Now that you are setting out to conquer TV, are there any other areas you’d like to try?
We made one movie but I would love to make more. I want to do a sitcom show, though I’m not an actress. Wigs and shoes are two things I’m passionate about, and I would love to oversee a wig line and women’s shoes sizes up to 13. It’s personal, because I have thin hair so I wear wigs for necessity. I wear a big shoe size and I like a slender stilt, which are difficult to find in our size. I could be doing that when the talk show is over. When you look at how people brand themselves for longevity, I like Gwen Stefani’s LAMB line, and believe it or not, I also like the House of Dereon, though I know Tina Knowles gets flack. I see a lot of successful women on daytime like Tyra Banks and Kelly Ripa, and all of their endorsements. Rachel Ray has Dunkin’ Donuts. When I see them, it makes me want to get it too. I want it all.

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