‘Wheel of Fortune’: Vanna White’s Playboy Cover Inspired Two Lawsuits

by Halle Ames
Wheel-Fortune-Vanna-Whites-Playboy-Cover-Inspired-Two-Lawsuits

Vanna White may be known as the beautiful co-host of Wheel of Fortune, but that isn’t the only attention she is getting for her image.

In 1987, the model and TV personality stripped down for a photo shoot with Playboy magazine. Playboy didn’t hide these seductive pictures away deep within the magazine. No, Vanna’s bare photos ended up on the cover of the popular publication.

Considering she started her Wheel of Fortune career five years earlier, people had much to say about their once innocent game show sweetheart.

“I Made A Mistake”

In 2017, when White celebrated her 60th birthday, she spoke with Fox News on her thoughts now on the scandalous photos. The Wheel of Fortune star reveals that she regrets them.

“I did something I shouldn’t have done,” Vanna White said.

White says immediately following news of the cover, she went to the game shows producer Johnny Carson. She begged the man not to fire her.

“‘I’m so sorry,” she remembers telling Carson. “I made a mistake, I’m sorry, and I just hope I don’t lose my job over it.’”

Although Vanna didn’t lose her job, she did see plenty of backlash, including a few lawsuits, but not from fans but White herself.

Vanna White explained that the photos were taken in 1982 by photographer David Gurian. Gurian wasn’t even associated with Playboy.

White says she took the photos for money at a time when it was becoming hard to make ends meet.

“When I first moved to Hollywood, I was too embarrassed to ask my dad for rent money,” White said. “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!’”

Vanna White Sues Playboy

The 64-year-old star reveals the way her photo came to be on the front page of Playboy.

“Hugh Hefner then bought those pictures,” Vanna said. “He’s the one who put me on the cover of the magazine. I didn’t do it for Playboy. I did not want them on there, but it happened.”

Furthermore, Vanna White tried to stop the images from going to print by suing the magazine for $5.2 million. In addition, she sued Helfer in federal court.

She told the AP in 1987 that she wanted to stop the photos before they could “tarnish her image as a modest, wholesome, attractive and innocent all-American girl.”

However, Bruce Binkow, former director of communications for Playboy, said this was not the case. He claimed that Vanna White was fully aware of the cover and even asked the magazine to postpone the release until she could release her autobiography.

Although her book tells a different story of how things went down, she later dropped the lawsuits.

Outsider.com