After being forced to resign as Miss America 32 years ago, Vanessa Williams finally received a formal apology from the pageant at the 2016 competition on Sunday.
“On behalf of today’s organization, I want to apologize to you and to your mother, Helen Williams,” said CEO of the Miss America organization Sam Haskell. “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.”
The former winner returned to the stage with a performance of Amy Grant’s “Oh How the Years Go By” before Haskell took the stage to give the organization’s apology.
Williams served as the competition’s head judge Sunday night alongside country musician Brett Eldredge; wife of the U.S. Navy Seal portrayed in “American Sniper,” Taya Kyle; actress Danica McKellar; “Shark Tank” investor Kevin O’Leary; Paralympian Amy Purdy; and Disney Channel star Zendaya.
She had been crowned Miss America in 1983, becoming the first African-American woman to win the pageant, but not without controversy. The model, who has found success in virtually all areas of the entertainment industry, was forced to resign 10 months after winning the crown when nude photos from her past appeared in Penthouse magazine.