Wheel of Fortune hostess Vanna White, 50, recently sat down with Family Circle to discuss her two children — Nicholas, 13, and Giovanna, 10 — with ex-husband George Santo Pietro and her thoughts on motherhood.
Click below to read Vanna’s views on cooking, what she hopes to pass on to her children and being a class mother.
Do your kids think it’s cool that you’re on television?
They’re so used to seeing me on Wheel of Fortune they don’t really notice anymore. But a while back I did an infomercial for Perfect Smith Teeth Whitening System, and, for some reason, it got them all excited again: "Mom! Mom! You’re on TV!" I had to laugh; I’m on TV every day!
Have they become good spellers from watching the show for so many years?
Actually, they are good spellers. Do you think it’s related?
You’re in the Guinness Book of World Records as television’s most frequent clapper (averaging 720 claps per episode, which is 28,000 per season). If your children were to break a record, what would it be?
I would nominate them for most-polite kids. Either that or for eating more sugar than any other human being. They love sweets!
What kind of treats do you make for them?
I cook an elaborate breakfast each morning; they usually request pancakes or French toast. But besides breakfast — and my chicken and dumplings — I’m not much of a cook.
Any recent dinner disasters?
I don’t burn dinner or anything like that! But my mom wasn’t into spending time in the kitchen, and you could say she passed down that "trait" to me. The kids’ dad, George, is an incredible chef, though.
Which one of you do the kids take after in the kitchen?
Their dad — thank goodness! Nicholas’ specialty is "pasta chips": plain leftover pasta sauteed in olive oil until it becomes crispy. Sounds awful, right? But it tastes amazing.
If they have their father’s culinary skills, what do you hope your kids are learning from you?
Southern charm. Growing up in South Carolina, I was raised to be kind, respectful and honest.
Are you actively involved in the kids’ schools?
I’m actually the class mother for Giovanna this year.
Sounds like a lot of responsibility.
It is. Right now I’m planning a potluck dinner for parents so they can get to know one another. Next week we’re assembling calendars for the kids to decorate for Grandparents’ Day. I also carpool and do some baking for bake sales and parties.
What made you decide to become so involved?
Kids grow up so fast, and I don’t want to miss a thing! Plus, I enjoy it. Being a mom is my favorite job — it’s the hardest but the most rewarding.
Did you know motherhood would be this difficult?
Not really. Your whole life changes after you have children. You never sleep soundly. You always have one eye open. You’re constantly worrying about their safety. But I wouldn’t change a thing. Giovanna and Nicholas have brought so much love and joy into my life — more than I could have ever imagined.
Source: Family Circle; January 2008 issue, pg. 124