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Forgiven & Forgotten? Vanessa Williams Returns To Miss America Pageant 32 Years After Nude Photo Diss—Why She Accepted Their Apology

Credit: Getty Images

Vanessa Williams has returned to the pageant world—in a very odd kind of way!

On September 13, the 52-year-old Desperate Housewives star graced the Miss America Pageant stage for the first time in 32 years, since becoming the first African American woman to ever win the crown. Unfortunately the title was taken away in 1984, after only 10 months, when nude girl-on-girl photos surfaced, forcing the blue-eyed beauty to resign in shame. “It took every ounce of credibility that I had and wiped it out,” she recalls.

Amends have been long overdue for the antiquated way in which the the matter was handled, as well as all the pain and suffering the singer and actress endured afterwards, which is why her friend and current Miss America Pageant CEO, Sam Haskell made a formal apology to her onstage, at the start of this year’s ceremony.

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“I have been a close friend to this beautiful and talented lady for 32 years,” Haskell professed “You have lived your life in grace and dignity, and never was it more evident than during the events of 1984 when you resigned. Though none of us currently in the organization were involved then, on behalf of today’s organization, I want to apologize to you and to your mother, Miss Helen Williams,” he continued, as he held the Ugly Betty actress close to him. “I want to apologize for anything that was said or done that made you feel any less than the Miss America you are and the Miss America you always will be.”

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It was an emotional moment for everyone, including Vanessa’s mother, who watched from the audience. There were reports last week that confusion ensued, when show officials were under the impression that the “Right Stuff” singer would be offering public atonement to them for the scandal, while she was told an apology would be coming her way, which is exactly what occurred in the end. On September 9, the former beauty queen even tweeted a picture of her gleaming crown, which she still has, saying “Yes, I’m back! Facts: I was crowned in ’83. Resigned in ’84. Still have the crown.”

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