Vanessa Williams: I Had an Abortion in My Teens

Celebrity News Apr. 17, 2012 AT 4:01PM
Actress Vanessa L. Williams attends the 43rd annual NAACP Image Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on February 17, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Actress Vanessa L. Williams attends the 43rd annual NAACP Image Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on February 17, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Credit: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Vanessa Williams' dark days are over.

In an interview with ABC's Nightline to discuss her new memoir, You Have No Idea, the 49-year-old actress revealed that she got pregnant -- and had an abortion -- in her teens.

"Being pregnant is the most frightening thing that happens in your life," she explained. "I knew in high school that's something that I was not prepared to do or fight or struggle with."

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The Desperate Housewives star also spoke candidly about being molested by an 18-year-old girl when she was just 10 years old.

"It was definitely a choice, because it didn't need to be [in the book]," Williams said of the incident that occurred during a family trip with friends. "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."

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It wasn't until years later, when she was studying theatre at Syracuse University, that Williams realized she had been sexually abused.

"I think I was highly sexualized because I was in fifth grade and I had this experience," Williams said. "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."

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Now a happy mother of four, Williams hopes her story inspires others who are trying to rise above their circumstances. "I've learned to embrace my past," Williams said on Nightline. "I embrace the choices that I have been given in my life."

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