You Have No Idea (Paperback)

A Famous Daughter, Her No-nonsense Mother, and How They Survived Pageants, Holly wood, Love, Loss (and Each Other)

By Vanessa Williams, Helen Williams

Avery, 9781592407590, 304pp.

Publication Date: April 2, 2013

List Price: 18.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


A candid and inspirational mother-daughter memoir of family, fame, trials, and triumphs by superstar Vanessa Williams her mother Helen Williams.

Since she was a little girl, Vanessa Williams wanted to be on Broadway. As a musical theater major in college she was on her way, but life took a turn when she became the first black Miss America. Forced to resign due to a nude photo scandal, it looked like her dreams were over. But through determination, and with a mom who was always there for her, she went on to conquer the entertainment world.

Like most teenagers, Vanessa Williams was often at odds with her mom. Despite their early conflicts, Helen has always ardently protected her daughter, staying in contact with the FBI about death threats Vanessa received and being there for her through the birth of her four children and dissolution of her two marriages. Vanessa and Helen tell of how they’ve made it through the many ups and down in their lives; and Vanessa dishes on her career and parts of her life that even her mother had no idea about—until now.

You Have No Idea
is a celebration of the love between a mother and daughter as well as the lives thus far of two women who have consistently defied the odds to achieve success – no matter how uncertain their paths might have been.

About the Author

Vanessa Williams is a Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award–nominated singer, actress, and dancer. Vanessa will star in the upcoming ABC primetime drama 666 Park Avenue. She has four children and divides her time between Los Angeles and Westchester County, New York.

Helen Williams is a retired public school music teacher and former adjunct professor at Manhattanville College School of Education. She has two children, Vanessa and Chris, and four grandchildren. She lives in Westchester County, New York.

Praise For You Have No Idea: A Famous Daughter, Her No-nonsense Mother, and How They Survived Pageants, Holly wood, Love, Loss (and Each Other)

“A revealing portrait of a fearless daughter and her feisty mother.” — Essence

“A great, gossipy, advice-filled read for anyone, but moms, especially, will understand.” — Ebony

“Vanessa Williams is a beautiful human being with a fascinating story—one of dignity in the face of adversity, determination leading to triumph. She is a wonderful mother, a devoted daughter, a gifted actress, a brilliant performer, and a dedicated friend who has always shown up for me—and so many others—when it mattered most.” — Maria Shriver

“Vanessa Williams is such an inspiration, and her mother, Helen, is a dynamo. You Have No Idea is a book that will make you laugh, cry, and will ultimately leave you empowered to face whatever challenges life throws at you with grace and poise—just like these ladies have." — Kristen Chenoweth

“I have known Vanessa for many years and have had the great pleasure of working with her in the past.  She is a strong, dynamic, and truly remarkable woman and her story is one for the ages.  You Have No Idea is a must read!” — Diahann Carroll

“Vanessa Williams is one of the most beautiful, talented, elegant and complex women I have ever come to know.  Her story is sure to be an inspiration and a path for many who find themselves challenged but determined to succeed against all odds.” — Debbie Allen

“It's about time Vanessa Williams wrote a book about her life. Few have triumphed in as many aspects of show business and few have survived as much personal adversity. I promise you will be entertained, touched and inspired by this wonderful woman's story. (And if it sounds like I have a crush on her, I totally do.)” — Marc Cherry, Creator and Executive Producer of Desperate Housewives