You go, girl! Vanna White proved her talents go much farther than just flipping letters on Wheel of Fortune as she hosted her first-ever episode on Monday, December 9. The beloved letter-turning model made her hosting debut on the hit CBS game show after Pat Sajak was forced to undergo emergency surgery.
“Tonight’s my first night of hosting Wheel!” the 62-year-old beauty wrote on Twitter before she kicked off her three-week stint as the host. “I’m excited and nervous! Stay tuned!”
During the episode, Vanna — who has been flipping consonants and vowels on Wheel of Fortune’s puzzle board for the past 37 years — was joined Minnie Mouse a few other characters as part of the series’ Disney Week. The iconic mouse even filled in for Vanna’s position! In honor of the holiday season, the set was also garnished with gorgeous Christmas ornaments and decorations.
The news of Vanna’s hosting gig was first announced in mid-November when the official Wheel of Fortune Twitter account took to social media to share the news of Pat’s health scare. “Vanna steps in as host and Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto join in the fun!” the tweet read at the time. “Tune in beginning December 9th,” a second tweet stated.
Although fans were thrilled about Vanna’s news, many were concerned regarding her costar’s health. According to the show’s Twitter page, Pat “underwent successful emergency surgery to correct a blocked intestine,” the message read alongside a photo the Wheel of Fortune wall that spelled out “Get well soon, Pat!” “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.”
Prior to making her first appearance as the long-running game show’s temporary host, the Gypsy Angels actress opened up about the highly anticipated gig. During her recent sit-down interview with Good Morning America, Vanna revealed the moment she was asked to fill in for her good friend.
“I was like, ‘What? No. You’re kidding, right?'” Vanna recalled during her appearance on the ABC morning show. “He goes, ‘No, I’m serious,’ And my first thought was, ‘There’s no way.’ I don’t pay attention to Pat.”
Even though Vanna joked about filling in for her longtime pal, she ultimately decided to take the position. “When I realized [executive producer Harry Friedman] was serious I thought, ‘You know what? The show must go on,” she continued. “I’m going to be a part of this and keep it going and will take Pat’s place until he comes back. He would probably do the same for me and I felt it was important for our fans to continue on with the show.”
Vanna’s choice to step up during her friend’s absence comes as no surprise considering the two are thick as thieves. During an interview with Closer Weekly this past February, Vanna gushed about the close bond the two developed after working together for nearly the last four decades.
“People at home see the chemistry between Pat and me,” she exclusively shared with Closer. “We are like brother and sister, and I think that is what makes it work.” The blonde beauty sweetly added, “We get along so well and are really best friends. We always have been.”