‘Wheel of Fortune’: Pat Sajak Compared How He and Vanna White Handle Fame Differently

by Will Shepard

Wheel of Fortune officially began in 1975, but Pat Sajak and Vanna White started roughly at the same time in 1983. The two became famous because of the show exceptionally quickly.

The two hosts have a close friendship because of the show. Over the years, their friendship grew immensely. But the two hosts handled their fame in different ways.

In an interview from 2011 with Emmy TV Legends, Pat Sajak described their differences. Each found their own ways to deal with the fame. In the long run, both Wheel of Fortune hosts learned to deal with being easily recognized.

Fame brings with it all sorts of complications. Fans become deeply invested and feel that they have a connection to them. But, Sajak said that “I think you can control that to some degree.”

Nonetheless, he has never been a huge fan of being recognized all over the place. That alone is different than White’s perspective on her fame. Initially, it seemed that Sajak was uncomfortable with his level of fame. But he overcame that feeling fairly quickly and figured out how to cope with being identified easily.

“So Vanna and I have been a nice balance in that way … and there’s nothing wrong if you want to have that mania thing going. She can handle [the fame] better,” the Wheel of Fortune host said.

The “Wheel of Fortune” Hosts, Pat Sajak and Vanna White, Coped With Fame in Their Own Ways

Sajak carried on explaining their differences in the interview. He continued, “I don’t think that I could have handled it as well as she did. Not that it would have necessarily happened the other way, but we are a good balance that way because she deflects a lot of that stuff which I like.”

Initially, he compared his fame to Britney Spears, who went through a chaotic period. While her reaction to being famous was far and away more drastic than his own, he understood why she did it. But thanks to his Wheel of Fortune co-host, he never came close to feeling that type of pressure.

“I can go about doing my show and not worrying too much about it,” Sajak said. “I mean, it’s not humility, it’s not … and I understand that television is a very public medium. But again, I like being able to go to the grocery store. And while I’m recognized, it’s not a frenzied recognition. You know, they let me buy my cream cheese and leave.”

Instead of the chaotic greetings that some celebrities get, Sajak’s are much tamer.

“They say, ‘Hi Pat, how ya doing?’ and it’s a very comfortable thing,” the Wheel of Fortune host explained. “It’s not as if Brad Pitt just walked in the room, and they want to rip your clothes off, although that’s not a bad deal either.”