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Vanessa Williams revealed a deeply personal secret on Oprah’s Master Class last night:

She was sexually abused at the age of 10.

The long-time actress said the culprit was an older cool who made everything seem “cool” and that the incident took place when Williams was on vacation with a friend’s family.

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“She came into the room where my friend and I were sleeping and she told me to lie down on the floor. She took my bottoms off and she said, ‘Be quiet,’ and she went down on me,” Williams admitted.

“And at 10 years old, I had no idea what it was, but I knew it felt good and I knew I shouldn’t be saying anything, and I didn’t tell anyone. It felt good but also something that was not supposed to be happening.”


Williams, whose television career includes a memorable stint on Desperate Housewives, said such an experience awakens “your sexuality at an age where it shouldn’t be awakened.”

“Had that not happened in my life and had I had an opportunity to have a normal courtship with a boyfriend at 16 or whatever… there wouldn’t have been that shame that was always haunting me,” she explained. “It made me more sexually promiscuous and more sexually curious at a younger age than I should have been.”

In 2012, Williams also admitted to having an abortion as a teenager.

How did this molestation affect her past? How does it affect her present and future?

“I certainly had struggles in my past. It didn’t change who I was, but it informed what I know not to do in the future or what I know to let go of. It’s a continual lesson of just not holding onto the past.

“Yes, it helps inform the future, but you have another opportunity to do things differently, to let new things happen in your life. You have to embrace that.”