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Vanessa Williams is in one pack an American actress, singer, fashion designer, and model. She is mostly known for being the first woman of African-American descent to win the Miss America beauty contest and also received critical acclaim for starring in Desperate Housewives and other television series.
There are a lot more things to know about her in addition to all that is known and have been written about her public celebrity life. Here, you will get acquainted with all of such information about this American woman.
Biography of Vanessa Williams, Former Miss America
The former beauty queen began her life as Vanessa Lynn Williams on the 18th day of March 1963 in The Bronx, New York as a daughter to Helen Tinch (mother) and Milton Augustine Williams Jr. (father). She was baptized at Our Lady of Grace Church in the Bronx and was raised in the Roman Catholic Christian faith as her parents were devoted followers of the Christian religion.
Vanessa has a younger brother called Chris with whom she grew up in the middle-class suburb of New York City where their parents raised them. She got schooled at the Chappaqua Central School District where she believes she was probably the first African-American girl to make it all the way up to the 12th grade from the district.
Being born to music-loving parents who earned a living from it as well, it was not surprising that she grew up with a keen interest in music. She got two scholarships for college; a Presidential Scholarship to study drama at Carnegie Mellon University and another to attend Syracuse University. She chose the later and joined the Syracuse’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, Department of Drama as a musical theater major in 1981. She was still a student here when she was crowned Miss America 1984 in September 1983. She was later given her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in May 2008 and according to the institution “Williams earned the remaining credits for her degree through industry experience and her substantial performances on stage and screen.”
Controversies after Fame
At this time that she had become a public figure, a few controversies trailed her. First, it was the issue of another Vanessa A. William of similar state, two months younger than her and an actress who existed. It was resolved in the acting profession by the Screen Actors Guild based on their standing rule that the first person who had first registered the stage name should be recognized by it. As such, the later Vanessa went by Vanessa A. Williams while the one you are reading about went by Vanessa L. Williams in acting credits. This proved ineffective when both actresses starred in the drama Soul Food (Vanessa L. Williams in the film version while Vanessa A. Willimas was featured in the TV series of the same project). The Screen Actors Guild in arbitration, therefore, decided that both actresses could be addressed as Vanessa Williams.
Also, towards the end of her Miss America 1984 reign, just a few weeks to hand over her crown, Penthouse Magazine paid for, obtained and published unauthorized photos of her which resulted in her being pressured to relinquish the crown to which she yielded. She, therefore, got succeeded by the first runner-up Miss New Jersey 1983, Suzette Charles. Sam Haskell the former Miss America CEO later apologized for this publicly in September 2015 when Vanessa Williams sat as a judge for Miss America 2016.
Four years after winning Miss America and giving up the crown, the former beauty queen bounced back to the delight of people with the release of her debut album titled The Right Stuff in 1988. The first and second singles on the album, The Right Stuff and He’s Got the Look saw huge success on the R&B chart of that time. The album attained a platinum status and earned her an NAACP Image Award with a Grammy Nomination for Best New Art.
Her second, third and subsequent albums and single songs all proved that indeed music ran in her blood as they all were successful. The Comfort Zone which was her second album became her biggest musical success as every single in the album did well individually. Her biggest hit till date – Save the Best for Last from the album remained number 1 in the US, Australia, the Netherlands, and Canada for up to 5 weeks. Her third album saw her branch into other types of music to which she didn’t disappoint either.
She has as well made a lot of successful appearances on television. Her first television appearance was was in a 1994 episode of The Love Boat. Others which followed included The Odessy (1997), Desperate Housewives, The Librarians (2016), etc.
In addition to modeling and acting, she diversified into the fashion industry and launched her own clothing line called V. by Vanessa Williams for EVINE Live.
Vanessa Williams has certainly lived and is still living a comfortable life. For anything we know her to have done, she succeeded at it and therefore must have been well rewarded in all life endeavors she ventured into. All these combined puts her net worth at $28 million.
Who are her Parents?
Her parents were music students at Fredonia State Teachers College when they met in the 1950’s. When they graduated as music teachers, their career saw them becoming elementary school music teachers in separate districts but it didn’t deter them from keeping in touch with each other.
William’s mother was also a church worker who played the organ at St. Theresa’s Church in Briarcliff Manor at the celebration of masses and weddings, and in doing this, her doting husband will always be by her side assisting her in turning the pages of the musical notes she was giving life to with the workings of her fingers.
Family – Husband, Daughter, Children
Vanessa Williams has been married to three different men. Her first husband was Ramon Harvey II who she married in 1987 at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church. She has three children with him named Melanie, Jillian Hervey, and Devin. However, they got divorced in 1997.
Love came calling again and this time around she answered the “call” from NBA basketball player in 1999 but ended the marriage in the year 2004 with a divorce.
More recently in 2015, the former beauty queen married a businessman from Buffalo, New York named Jim Skrip.
There have not been any record of Vanessa having kids in her two later marriages. The only record of her having kids was from her first marriage. From that marriage, she bore a baby girl who has grown into a musician now named Jillian Hervey. She is recognized as an American singer, dancer and a member of the music group called Lion Babe.