Now that Pat Sajak has made it safely through the recovery of his emergency surgery for a blocked intestine, the Wheel of Fortune host is set to make his return in episodes that will air next week. But while he's still away, his daughter Maggie Sajak stepped in as the letter-turner on Monday's episode while Vanna White took Sajak's place as host. In an interview with Good Morning America that aired Tuesday, Maggie opened up about her father's health scare in November.
The 25-year-old said Sajak sought help after experiencing a "horrific pain" in his stomach during an early morning walk with her. "He's not a big complainer," Maggie said of her dad. "I could tell he was taking it seriously. We don't usually, you know, go into the emergency room for little things."
Sajak credits Maggie with helping him amid his recovery, joking, "To this day, I don't think I'm allowed to pick up anything heavier than a pillow."
Maggie called it "amazing" to see her dad back at work after his health scare. "It was definitely really scary," she said. "I'd like to say I was a trooper at the beginning. I wasn't."
"But I pulled myself together and I'm just so happy he's back in action and doing what he does," she added.
Maggie is proud of her father for his legacy on Wheel of Fortune and said that she'll be by her dad's side when he's ready to retire — which he told GMA may be in the next three years.
"I know that he wants to be able to leave, kind of on his terms," Maggie said. "And no matter what he decides to do, I know he has such a lasting legacy on the show."
It appears as if Sajak will be able to do just that, as Maggie said he's "doing well."
"From the perspective of his daughter, it was a scary experience, I'm not gonna lie," she said. "But he's doing great and I know he's so excited to be back next week."
Maggie's guest appearance on Monday's episode marked her first time as a letter-turner, although she technically made her television debut on the set of the longrunning game show in 1996 when she was just a year-old. Monday's episode showed a sweet clip of her walking onto the set beside her father.
As for her most recent experience on the show, she described it as "bittersweet because obviously, the circumstances, you know, was that my dad couldn't be there."0comments
She and Sajak said that White came to their house the night before the taping and used their refrigerator to practice with Maggie. "It is more complicated, you know, like I said, with his job, they make it look easy, after all these years, and they're so great at their jobs," Maggie said. "But you know, it is more complicated than you think."
Sajak was proud of his daughter's performance, taking to Twitter to praise both her and White: "Another nice job by [White] filling in this week on Wheel. I like the new puzzle person, too," he tweeted.