Vanna White said these tearful final words to Pat Sajak

Cat3 / Culture

Cpl. Tom Sloan, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Vanna White and Pat Sajak made Wheel of Fortune a TV institution for over 40 years.

But all good things must come to an end.

And Vanna White said these tearful final words to Pat Sajak.

Sajak announces retirement

Pat Sajak and Vanna White began their run on Wheel of Fortune when the show went into syndication in 1982.

The two co-starred on over 8,000 episodes of the popular puzzle solving game show.

But in June 2023, Sajak announced that the 2023-2024 season would be his last as host of the beloved program.

“Well, the time has come. I’ve decided that our 41st season, which begins in September, will be my last. It’s been a wonderful ride, and I’ll have more to say in the coming months. Many thanks to you all. (If nothing else, it’ll keep the clickbait sites busy!)” Sajak wrote on X.

Vanna White’s tribute to her friend and co-star

White recorded an emotional tribute video that aired ahead of Sajak’s final episode hosting Wheel of Fortune which aired on June 7.

“As this chapter of our lives is coming to an end, I know you’ll still be close by. You’re like a brother to me and I consider you a true lifelong friend who I will always adore,” White began. 

“I love you, Pat,” White added.

As White began to fight back tears she revealed to Sajak how much their friendship meant to her both professionally and personally.

“As much fun as we had on camera, those memories, milestones and life events we shared with our families, outside the studio, are my favorite,” White continued. 

“We’ve watched our children grow up together, we’ve traveled all over the world, we’ve eaten hundreds of meals together. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve celebrated,” White concluded.

But Sajak was riding into retirement alone.

This wasn’t what he originally envisioned.

Back in 2019 Sajak told USA Today he assumed the pair would ride off into the sunset together.

“There’s a pretty good chance that when one of us leaves, we’ll both leave, because it would be odd for either of us to work with somebody else,” Sajak said at the time.

“I always say that I want to leave while the show is still popular and before people tune in and say, ‘Ooh, what happened to him?’” Sajak added.

Sajak’s replacement

American Idol host Ryan Seacrest will now be the new host of Wheel of Fortune.

“I can say, along with the rest of America, that it’s been a privilege and pure joy to watch Pat and Vanna on our television screens for an unprecedented 40 years, making us smile every night and feel right at home with them,” a statement from Seacrest about being named Sajak’s successor read.

Seacrest appeared on Good Morning America in September 2023 and admitted he had big shoes to fill.

“Pat is a legend, but coming in there and giving a lot of money to these contestants really is the best part of the whole thing,” Seacrest stated. “I’m shouting out the puzzles and my dog is staring at me. I’m also practicing the hosting part in my living room just to make sure I have the rules down.”

But helping him settle into the role will be Vanna White.

She signed a two-year contract to take her through the 2025-2026 season.

The deal, Seacrest revealed, included a substantial raise.

“Vanna has been such a staple on that show and in our living rooms for so many years,” he added to Today that same month. “I have been very excited to work with her, but now that it’s official I can say, ‘Congratulations Vanna! I can’t wait.’ … She’s beloved by this country and by the viewers and I can’t even imagine standing next to her on that set being able to say, ‘Okay, let’s get to it.’ It’s great news. I’m very, very happy to hear it and very happy I’ll be able to work with her.”

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