When it comes to Vanessa Williams, "You Have No Idea." The 49-year-old's new memoir, which carries the mysterious title, reveals within the pages that as a child, she was molested by a woman.
The incident occurred when Williams was just 10 years old, making it hard for the young girl to comprehend just what was happening to her. In the latest issue of People magazine, on stands now, Williams details an incident in which an 18-year-old girl, Susan, a friend of a family friend whom the actress described as the "epitome of cool," inappropriately touched her.
"She told me to lie down on the rug," Williams told People. "I was confused. Are we going to play a game? As I tried to make sense of it, Susan pulled down the bloomers of my cotton baby-doll pajamas. 'What are you doing?' I asked. 'Don’t worry – it’ll feel good.'"
Susan told Williams, "Don't tell anyone" -- and she didn't.
Williams kept her molestation a secret for years, not knowing how to comprehend the events that transpired that night in California.
"I didn’t really understand until college," Williams said of the moment she finally realized what had happened to her. "I was with my boyfriend and it hit me and I blurted out: 'Oh my god -- I was molested.'"
Williams' startling revelation led her to "become a bit more rebellious." The beauty admits that she smoked marijuana in high school and had an abortion her senior year.
After further understanding the horrific experience, the "Desperate Housewives" actress got her start in pageants, going on to win the 1983 Miss America pageant -- the first African-American woman to do so. But Williams felt numb: "I wasn't happy. I wasn't excited. I wasn't there. I just smiled and waved."
With a nude photo scandal on the horizon -- one that would ultimately take away her crown -- Williams' heartbreak was further magnified.
But, ever the resilient woman she is today, Williams believes that her difficult past was just "part of [her] journey."
Pick up People's newest issue, on stands now, to get the whole story.