Wheel of Fortune‘s Vanna White has been a co-host of the show for 37 seasons (and counting!), but in a few weeks, she’ll take on the role of main host, filling in for Pat Sajak, who had to undergo emergency surgery for a blocked intestine.
It’s safe to say that White, 62, has prayed for her colleague’s speedy recovery. “I grew up religious,” she recently told PEOPLE during a sit-down at her Beverly Hills home. “I was baptized a Baptist, and I’ve always had my own personal relationship with God.”
The South Carolina-born beauty queen, who landed the Wheel of Fortune gig when she was just 25 after moving to L.A. to continue her modeling career, said she grew up going to church and Sunday school each week.
And while she identifies as a Christian, she never likes to preach about it.
“I don’t preach, because everyone’s entitled to their own beliefs,” she shared. “I don’t judge anyone for whatever religion they are. This is my religion and I speak openly about it, but again, I would never preach.”
Still, she firmly believes in the power of prayer. “I pray every day,” she said.
White said prayer, plus the support she’s received from Wheel fans, has helped her through darker times, like when she lost her fiancé in a plane crash in 1986.
“I heard from so many people who had shared the same experience of losing someone instantly in an accident, and that really helped me,” she told PEOPLE. “I didn’t feel like I was alone. Because when something like that happens, you immediately think you’re the only one.”
She also turned to her faith and her fans when she miscarried her first child just a week after announcing it via a puzzle on the set of the show.
“Obviously I lost the baby, which was devastating after announcing it. The good news is I was able to get pregnant again and had two beautiful, healthy children. … But losing a child — there’s nothing good about that,” she told PEOPLE.
While White will only be hosting the show briefly as Sajak recovers before returning to her regular role as letter-turner, she said she has no intention of leaving her beloved job anytime soon.
“We’re one big family,” she said of the Wheel of Fortune cast and crew. “It’s wonderful.”