For Easter, we’re throwing it way back to 1987. In a resurfaced video, viewers can see Vanna White singing alongside the late television icon Bob Hope and other stars at the time. Even though we all know Vanna White is no stranger to the camera, getting to see the “Wheel of Fortune” co-host sing is an Easter treat in itself.
During Bob Hope’s “Easter Parade” special, viewers can see White singing with Hope, Stephanie Kramer, Gloria Loring, and Lynda Carter. In the video, White proved she doesn’t just have the looks; she’s also a talented vocalist.
However, that same year, White was the subject of controversy. Five years after she made her “Wheel of Fortune” debut, she made headlines when her photos ended up on the cover of Playboy. In the magazine, White is photographed wearing only a long-sleeved shirt that exposed her behind.
In the spread, she’s pictured semi-nude while posing suggestively. During an interview with Fox in 2017, White reflected on the decision that’s haunted her for 30 years.
“Here’s the thing. When I first moved to Hollywood, I was too embarrassed to ask my dad for rent money, she began. “I was young and I wanted to do it on my own. So, I did these lingerie shots and from the moment I said I would do them, I thought, “I shouldn’t be doing this, but I’m not going to ask my dad for money, so I’m just going to do it!” Once I got “Wheel of Fortune” and some fame, Hugh Hefner then bought those pictures. He’s the one who put me on the cover of the magazine. I didn’t do it for Playboy.“
Vanna White on Playboy Shoot: ‘I Made a Mistake’
Despite the controversy, White was able to keep her letter-turning gig on “Wheel of Fortune.” However, White still had to deal with the rumors and legal battles. At the time, White was already a household name and was worried posing in the sultry magazine completely tarnished her reputation.
Vanna White filed a $5.2 million lawsuit against Playboy when the issue hit the stands, hoping to stop the publication. White asserted that the photos would “tarnish her image as a modest, wholesome, attractive and innocent all-American girl,” per a 1987 Associated Press story. She later sued the late Hugh Hefner.
Later, White dropped the lawsuits, claiming in a statement that “Playboy’s promotion efforts have led the public to believe the photographs are more revealing and provocative than they actually are,” The Post wrote that year.
During the interview with Fox, White spoke candidly about her regrets regarding the experience. “I did not want them on there, but it happened. She added, “I remember going on “Johnny Carson” and saying, “I’m so sorry, this is what happened.”
She continued, adding that the experience was a lesson learned. “Never do anything that you don’t want to do. Listen to your instincts and follow it. I said, “I made a mistake, I’m sorry and I just hope I don’t lose my job over it.” Fortunately, I didn’t. I could have, you know? It was a great lesson to learn, but what can I say? I did something I shouldn’t have done.”