As Pat Sajak’s Wheel of Fortune retirement gets closer, it’s hard to imagine him and Vanna White not being on the show together. The duo have been the faces of the long-running game show since 1981, which is definitely a long time. It seems like they are super close too after spending a good chunk of their lives together. However, don’t get the wrong idea about them because friendly reminder, they are just friends and colleagues. If you did think they were married at one point, you aren’t the only one though, because Kelly Ripa thought that for a while.
The longtime letter-turner appeared on Live! with Kelly and Mark to discuss her time on the series and Sajak’s upcoming retirement, which will happen after this current season. Since they’ve been working together for so long, Ripa actually thought at one point that they were married. After White brought up the Live! hosts being married, Kelly Ripa confessed how a dinner party made her realize that the Wheel hosts weren’t actually together (via TV Insider):
Kelly Ripa: For years, I mean, I think I speak for a lot of people, I thought you and Pat were married. Imagine my surprise when Pat came to our house for dinner one night…
Mark Consuelos: And you weren’t there.
Ripa: I was like, ‘Oh my god! Pat and Vanna must have gotten divorced!
It’s hilarious to know that Kelly Ripa genuinely thought the Wheel co-hosts were married and then got divorced. I would have loved to see her reaction when she found out that Pat Sajak and Vanna White were, in fact, never married. It just shows how close the two of them are and that their chemistry is undeniable. Now Ripa is just laughing at the fact she thought that, and she is willing to admit it. She likely isn’t the only one who thought the Wheel hosts were married, or at least dating, but she is probably the only one who learned they weren’t by way of Sajak showing up to dinner without White at his side.
After Sajak announced his retirement, White revealed she thought about leaving Wheel of Fortune. She didn’t know how the show or herself would be able to go on without him. However, she realized she wasn’t quite ready to retire, which is why she went through tough negotiations to get a new and fair contract. She finally landed a new contract, meaning she is sticking around for at least another few seasons.
When White eventually leaves, whenever that may be, fans already have someone in mind who they want to replace her, and it would be keeping it in the Sajak family. Sajak’s daughter, Maggie, has experience turning letters from filling in for White on a couple of occasions. She’s also the show’s social media correspondent. White also gave her thoughts on Maggie replacing her, noting that she’s “a good replacement.” So you never know what could happen.
Kelly Ripa's former Live! co-host, Ryan Seacrest is set to replace Sajak after his retirement, but it will be hard to match the same energy Sajak had with White. The bond the two of them have is pretty special, and while they aren't actually married, they are close. Fans can continue to see Sajak host Wheel of Fortune on the 2023 TV schedule weekdays on NBC and going through at least early summer 2024.