Vanessa Williams' Mom on Her Childhood Talents

By ROBERT PACE

May 09, 2013

With Mother's Day coming up this weekend, Vanessa Williams and her mother sat down with ET to reflect on some of their favorite memories together.

As both Williams' mother Helen and father Milton were music teachers, the Milton, New York native grew up with a firm foundation for becoming a top recording artist.

Nevertheless, it was another talent that Mrs. Williams spotted in Vanessa early in her life that she saw as promising.

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"When she came on stage, it was like your eye automatically went to her and we thought, 'She's pretty talented. I think she's good!'" her mother said of the Desperate Housewives actress.

Williams reveals that her parents then fostered her acting talent by motivating her to keep improving.

"They said, 'We believe in you and you're talented, but you need to work at it and work hard,'" the 50-year-old singer and actress said.

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Williams began acting in her early twenties after being crowned as Miss America 1984, starting out with guest roles on shows like The Red Foxx Show and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

After years of various TV movies and guest stints and various feature films, she landed a role as a series regular on Ugly Betty, for which she was granted a SAG Award nomination in 2007. She then moved on to Desperate Housewives for two seasons following the series finale of Ugly Betty.

Williams has recently taken her acting talents to Broadway for The Trip to Bountiful, in which she stars alongside Cuba Gooding Jr. and Cicely Tyson.

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She and her mother have maintained a close rapport over the years, and recently wrote a joint memoir, out in stores now, recounting their lives together verbosely titled You Have No Idea: A Famous Daughter, Her No-Nonsense Mother, and How They Survived Pageants, Hollywood, Love, Loss (and Each Other).



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