‘Wheel of Fortune’: Vanna White Says She Was ‘Scarred for Life’ After This Mistake

by Michael Freeman
(Photo by Mike Pont/Getty Images)

Vanna White has been a Wheel of Fortune staple since joining way back in 1982. Despite her storied history with the show and her thousands of appearances, she admitted a mistake she made has her “scarred for life.”

For those who don’t know, Vanna White reveals the letters on Wheel of Fortune every time a contestant guesses a correct letter. Though it may seem straightforward now, in the earlier days of the game, instead of simply tapping the letters when they lit up, she had to turn them. Recently appearing on The Kelly Clarkson Show, White revealed back in those days, she turned the wrong letter around for a puzzle. This mistake was so significant she says she was “scarred for life.”

“I was mortified,” she said while remembering the puzzle. “I don’t even remember which was the correct puzzle. It was either ‘Dr. Spock’ or ‘Mr. Spock,’ and I turned the ‘M’ or the ‘D.’ And it was like, ‘That’s the wrong letter! Oh, my gosh!’” Audibly gasping while recalling the incident, she added “I’m scarred for life on that.”

Luckily, precautions were in place in case such a thing happened. In this instance, she said they simply threw that puzzle out and put another one in, but the damage was done. The show never did that again and it’s because White ensured she didn’t repeat the mistake.

“Fortunately, in 1997, they changed the puzzle board, where I only touch the letters,” she explained. “And when I touch them, I won’t touch them unless they light up.” This means if a mistake occurs, White isn’t responsible.

Vanna White Discusses how She Trained Maggie Sajak for Her Role

Though we identify Vanna White as the one displaying Wheel of Fortune’s letters, that hasn’t always been the case. Back in 2019, Pat Sajak suffered a health scare and required surgery. Because of it, White became the show’s host and Sajak’s daughter Maggie took on White’s role. Luckily for her, Vanna trained her thoroughly beforehand to prepare her.

Yahoo Entertainment sat down with Maggie Sajak last December to talk about the switch a few years ago. According to Maggie, White had an ingenious method to train her for her new letter-lighting role. “She gave me a little tutorial,” Maggie said. “Like on our refrigerator, of how to press the letters and how hard to press them and all of that. She was so gracious in teaching me, and you know, she had a big job to do that week too, filling in for my dad. So it was a new experience for both of us, and I’m really glad we were able to do that together.”

Pat Sajak later expressed pride toward his daughter and longtime cohost, so it seems the training paid off.