Vanna White Is Mourning A Tragic Loss In Her Family

Vanna White has spent decades smiling, clapping, and unveiling letters on "Wheel of Fortune." She struggled early in her career, but a November 1982 audition changed her life forever. 

White grew up in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, detailed Biography. She was raised by her mother Joan and stepfather Herbert White Jr., as her mom and biological father split when she was a baby. She eventually took on the last name of the man who raised her, ditching Rosich, her biological father's last name. As she told The Believer, "It was a very simple life. My dad worked in the post office for thirty years, my mom was an accountant." She headed to California after high school, setting her sights on acting. 

Not long after arriving in California, however, she returned to South Carolina to be by her mother's side during her last days with ovarian cancer. She returned to Los Angeles after her mother's death, and eventually landed the audition where she beat out 200 others to score the gig she still has today. "It's not the most intellectual job in the world," she once admitted of her "Wheel of Fortune" job. "When I was having that alphabet soup, I never thought it would pay off." However, while White's life may appear glamorous to "Wheel of Fortune" viewers, the star just revealed a heartbreaking personal development.

Vanna White faces a difficult farewell

Although Vanna White typically appears charismatic and happy on-camera for "Wheel of Fortune," she's navigated personal heartbreak several times, detailed Biography. In addition to her mother's death, White's long-time partner John Gibson died in 1986 in a plane crash. Now, White has lost the man she considered her father, Herbert White Jr. 

On April 1, White revealed on Twitter her stepfather had died. "It is with great sadness that I tell you my 96 year old dad passed away peacefully this morning," she wrote. White posted a photo showing them together during happier times, and added he "lived a full and happy life and will be remembered as one of the kindest and most wonderful human beings of North Myrtle Beach."

It was no secret the "Wheel of Fortune" star adored him. She regularly shared photos showing the two together on his birthday and Father's Day each year. In June 2021, Vanna posted an adorable photo showing her kissing her stepfather's cheek. "Happy Father's Day to my amazing 95 year old dad," she noted. Heading into what would be his last Father's Day, she told "Wheel of Fortune" host Pat Sajak, "I call him every morning to say good morning and that I love him," noting he was doing great and was a special guy. White may be mourning his death now, but she clearly adored the man who raised her and made the most of the many years she had with him.