The stunning former Miss America–the first African American woman ever to be given the title–calls her new book You Have No Idea and is not shy about opening up to readers about her childhood and teen years, when she says she was molested by an 18-year old girl and, several years later, became pregnant in high school and had an abortion.
“I’ve learned to embrace my past,” Williams said. “I embrace the choices that I have been given in my life.”
The book also goes a bit more in depth regarding the scandals the public has already been privy to, including nude photos of her at age 19 which surfaced in Penthouse and got her Miss America title revoked. The star’s mother, who co-wrote the book, says she was shocked to learn about such huge secrets, but that they explain some of her behavior as a teenager.
“…In retrospect, it kind of put into place some of her reactions during her pre-teen years,” Helen Williams said.
Molestation can cause an early sexualization that has lasting effects, and most of them are serious. Williams says she didn’t realize the full extent of what had happened to her; she only knew she was supposed to keep it a secret. Often, victims of sexual abuse are bullied into hiding what’s happening to them, causing shame and emotional issues.
Luckily, Williams has been able to overcome her past, moving on to a bright acting career (“Ugly Betty”, “Desperate Housewives”) and mothering four children. She is also a Grammy, Emmy, and Tony-award nominated performer