- (Photo: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)
Vanessa Williams has revealed shocking insights including molestation and abortion in her new candid memoir, "You Have No Idea."
The 49-year-old actress released the book written along with her mother, Helen Williams, earlier this month.
"You Have No Idea" describes the sexual abuse Williams suffered as a 10-year-old by an 18-year-old girl, which resulted in her being "highly sexualized" later in life.
"It was definitely a choice, because it didn't need to be [in the book]," said Williams, speaking to ABC's "Nightline."
The "Desperate Housewives" actress was on a family vacation with a friend when the dark incident occurred.
"It happened one night where she told me 'come over here …' I didn't know that it was wrong, but I knew that it wasn't right because I wasn't supposed to tell anybody," continued Williams. "I was highly sexualized because I was in fifth grade and I had this experience, because it feels good, you're like, OK well this is supposed to be normal. That's not normal for a 10-year-old to be seduced."
The former Miss America of 1983 revealed that she did not understand the brevity of the molestation until college many years later. She kept the incident a secret for many years, shocking even her mother with the revelation.
"[I] had no idea that, that had happened," said Helen WIlliams, also speaking to "Nightline."
"But in retrospect, it kind of put into place some of her reactions during those pre-teen years," the mother added.
The actress went on to explain her high school pregnancy that ended with an abortion, and claimed that the incident was the direct response to suffering from molestation.
"Being pregnant is the most frightening thing that happens in your life," said Williams. "I knew in high school that's something that I was no prepared to do, or fight, or struggle with."
Now a mother of four, WIlliams kept the pregnancy from her parents, but is now sharing the sad secret with the world.
"You Have No Idea" also covers issues Williams encountered being African-American and dealing with pageants, Hollywood, and love, as well as her relationship with her mother.
Recounting her dark history as well as her achievements as an actress led WIlliams to ultimately accept her life.
"I've learned to embrace my past," explained the actress. "I embrace the choices that I have been given in my life."