She is known for her feisty characters on Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty.
But fans of Vanessa Williams will be shocked to learn that for years she has held onto a secret – she was molested when she was a child.
The actress, 49, has written about the disturbing incident for the first time in her memoir You Have No Idea.

Opening up: Vanessa Williams has revealed she was sexually molested by a 18-year-old woman when she was 10-years-old

When she was just 10-years old an 18-year-old woman abused her and she says what happened to her didn’t resonate with her until much later.
She explained to People magazine: ‘Family friends who had a daughter invited me to visit their friends in California with them. The family we stayed in had two kids.’
Describing her attacker she said: ‘Susan, who was 18, smoked, drove a car and was the epitome of cool. [My friend] Nancy and I slept in the den. One night Susan crept in.’
‘She told me to lie down on the rug. 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”’

She continued: ‘I lay there paralyzed. What was going on? I didn’t speak. She kept at [the molestation] for I don’t know how long. She slid my bloomers back up and whispered: “Don’t tell anyone.”’
It wasn’t until years later that Vanessa began to comprehend what had happened to her that night.
She said: ‘For years I kept Susan’s visit to myself. I didn’t really understand until college. I was with my boyfriend and it hit me and I blurted out: “Oh my god - I was molested.”’

While what had happened to her didn’t resonate at the time – she began to change her behaviour, she started to rebel.
Vanessa began to smoke marijuana, she didn’t comply with her curfew and at High School she had an abortion.
Before finding fame as TV star the Grammy-nominated singer enjoyed success in beauty pageants and the star speaks out about the process in her memoir, which she has written with her mother Helen.

Book club: Vanessa and her mother Helen have co-written her memoir You Have No Idea

Speaking about being crowned Miss America in 1983 she said: 'I had no emotion. I wasn't happy. I wasn't excited. I wasn't there. I just smiled and waved.'
Williams was the first black Miss America she suffered from a backlash.
She noted: 'Some [people] didn't think I was black enough.'
Before adding: 'My mother received death threats.'
If that wasn't enough nude photos taken two years earlier ended up surfacing and meant she was stripped of her title.
But Vanessa has learnt from her experiences and says she was always honest with her children, Melanie, 24, Jillian,22, Devin, 19 and Sasha 11.
She explained: 'It was part of my journey that led me to them and to where I am today.'

Read more: Vanessa Williams reveals she was sexually abused when she was 10-years-old | Mail Online