Wheel of Fortune has been full of surprises this year, from Pat Sajak announcing his impending departure to Ryan Seacrest being announced as his successor. On October 2, beloved letter-turner Vanna White was noticeably absent from the show, leading fans to question her whereabouts.

What Happened to Vanna White?

At the start of the week, Pat explained the reason behind Vanna’s abrupt disappearance from the show.

“You’ll notice Vanna is not here, and I have to say that Ms. White has tested positive for COVID. That’s the bad news,” he told the audience. “The good news is I talked to her just a little while ago and she feels fine. She has a little sniffle. But she tested positive and that’s the way it goes, so she will not be with us here this week.”

Despite Vanna’s sudden absence, the show must go on. As it is currently Teacher’s Week on the show, 2023 California Teacher of the Year recipient Bridgette Donald-Blue will temporarily take over for Vanna as she recovers from October 2 to October 6.

The news was devastating for longtime Wheel of Fortune fans, who have been watching Pat and Vanna create magic together during his final season as host. Once season 42 rolls around next year, Ryan will be fronting the show alongside Vanna.

After his final episode as host, Pat will serve as a consultant behind the scenes of Wheel of Fortune for three years.

“We’re thrilled to have him remaining close to the Wheel of Fortune family!” Suzanne Prete, Executive Vice President of Game Shows at Sony Pictures Television, told Closer upon Pat’s retirement announcement in June.

Vanna White wears floral mini dress with black purse
Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Is Vanna White Leaving ‘Wheel of Fortune’?

Though she was forced to miss episodes of the game show due to COVID-19, Vanna has not announced any official plans to leave the series. It’s been a big year for the longtime TV personality, who extended her Wheel of Fortune contract until 2026, Closer confirmed.

She will be joining Ryan in early 2024 for a new season of Wheel of Fortune. The American Idol host cannot wait to work with Vanna.

“This is such great news,” he said in September after news broke about Vanna’s contract extension. “Vanna has been such a staple on that show and in our living rooms for so many years. I’ve been very excited to work with her but now that it’s official I can say, ‘Congratulations, Vanna.’ I can’t wait.”