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Vanessa Williams has led a very colorful life. The forty-nine-year-old won the Miss America title in 1983, married former LA Laker Rick Fox, had numerous hit songs and more than a few high profile acting roles. As such, it wouldn’t have been surprising if she’d stuck to those details when she sat down to write a memoir with her mother, but at some point, she realized getting the full truth out there might help others.
Entitled You Have No Idea, the book is currently in stores, and to generate some publicity, Williams sat down with Nightline to discuss the text’s two biggest reveals. When she was ten years old, the actress and singer was molested by an eighteen-year-old during a family trip. She kept the incident a secret from everyone, including her mother who only found out during the writing process, but she’s now convinced that early sexual contact affected her behavior in high school. That behavior led to her getting pregnant before she graduated. Without options, she had an abortion because she knew she wasn’t equipped to take care of a child.
"Being pregnant is the most frightening thing that happens in your life. I knew in high school that's something that I was not prepared to do, or fight, or struggle with."
Vanessa Williams has always been a stand-up woman. She gracefully stepped aside during her Miss America reign after naked photographs she never gave consent to release were sold to Penthouse, and since, she has raised four wonderful children. Her secrets might have been hers for decades, but one can only hope they will convince other victims of molestation to finally share their stories too.