She has been flipping letters on Wheel of Fortune since 1982, but Vanna White was still taken aback when she was asked to replace Pat Sajak as host while he recovered from emergency surgery for an intestinal blockage.
The 62-year-old sat-down with Good Morning America recently and revealed the moment the game show’s producer asked her to fill in for her longtime pal, 73. “I was like, ‘What? No. You’re kidding, right?'” Vanna recalled. “He goes, ‘No, I’m serious,’ And my first thought was, ‘There’s no way.’ I don’t pay attention to Pat.”
“I’m busy with my letters and my puzzle board,” the TV personality joked. “I mean, I’m hearin’ him, but I don’t really pay that much attention.” However, the star knew how key it was for her to do the job.
“When I realized [executive producer Harry Friedman] was serious I thought, ‘You know what? The show must go on,” Vanna recalled. “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.”
While she’s been on the game show for quite some time, hosting it was a whole different ballgame. “It was very scary for me to step into that role, especially without any practice, but I did it,” Vanna explained. “I think in the back of my mind the hardest part was that I was so concerned about Pat and his health — I was very disturbed by that, to tell you the truth.”
Vanna did make a “few minor mistakes” while hosting, but eventually, “I kind of got the hang of it.” Vanna will be hosting the iconic game show for three weeks. Last month, the former film actress headed to Twitter to share some sweet words about her friend.
“Wheel of Fortune without @patsajak is like a word without vowels,” she wrote on November 12. “I’ll fill in the blanks until you return. Rest up and we’ll be solving puzzles in no time. (Don’t worry, your job is safe! Well, pretty safe.)” What a friendship!