Vanessa Williams Vanessa Williams

Vanessa Williams reveals in her new memoir that she was sexually abused at the age of 10 by a family friend, E! Online reports.

In the new book, You Don't Know, Williams recalls the incident, which she says occurred when she was visiting family friends in California and the family's 18-year-old daughter came into her room one night.

Pilot Season: Vanessa Williams moving to 666 Park Avenue

"[She] pulled down the bloomers of my cotton baby-doll pajamas," Williams writes. "'What are you doing?' I asked. 'Don't worry—it'll feel good.' 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.'"

The Emmy-nominated actress, 49, says she kept the secret for years and only began to feel the ramifications of the traumatic event when she was in college. "After that trip I felt something change in me," she writes. "I had always been defiant, but I became a bit more rebellious. I began to pull away from my parents."

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But nowadays, Williams says she is much more open about her past, including a photo scandal that cost her the Miss America crown, with her four children. "When my kids have asked about Miss America, those photos or any other part of my life, I told them what I always tell them—the truth," she explains. "After all, it was part of my journey that led me to them and to where I am today."

Williams, who currently stars on Desperate Housewives, is co-starring in the ABC supernatural pilot 666 Park Avenue.