Vanessa Williams Finally Gets Apology From Miss America CEO Over Nude Photo Scandal

Photo: Jim Smeal/BeImages.
In case you missed it, a new Miss America was crowned last night — and a former one was redeemed. Miss Georgia Betty Cantrell emerged victorious at last night's pageant, and the head judge overseeing it all was none other than singer/actress Vanessa Williams.

The Ugly Betty star became the first Black Miss America in 1984, but was forced to resign after nude modeling photos taken a year before the pageant surfaced. Last night's pageant began with a formal apology to Williams on behalf of the Miss America Organization.

"I have been a close friend to this beautiful and talented lady for 32 years," Miss America Executive Chairman and CEO Sam Haskell, III told the crowd. "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 Ms. Helen Williams. I want to apologize for anything that was said or done that made you feel any less the Miss America you are and the Miss America you always will be."

Williams, who also sang "Oh How The Years Go By" for the telecast, graciously accepted Haskell's apology.

"I did the best I could as my reign of Miss America 1984, on behalf of my family, my mother in particular," she said. "I'm so honored to be back."

Better late than never. Guess it's all water under the bridge now... or blood under the tiara? (People)

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