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Vanessa Williams appears on the ABC hit Ugly Betty as fashion diva Wilhelmina Slater. But at home, Vanessa works to balance her career as an actress with her responsibilities as a mother of four.

In the past, Vanessa says she has passed up roles because she didn't want to leave her kids. Now, Vanessa works on Ugly Betty in California while her kids live in New York—but even her oldest daughter encouraged her to go for it. "She said, 'You know what, Mom? We'll be fine. We'll come visit you. You're great in this role. You'll love it. Just do it,'" Vanessa says.

After enlisting her ex-husband and her mother to help take care of the children, Vanessa decided to take the role. "It takes a village, and I have the okay of the village to say, 'We will hold it down while you're working out here.'"

Even with the support of her family, Vanessa still faces challenges as a working mom. "It's not as effortless as it seems," she says. "Certainly I've had two failed marriages trying to juggle everything, and unfortunately, the marriages were probably the least attended to, in terms of, my kids came first, my career, trying to make money for my kids to be able to give them a life that I want them to have, and trying to keep everything spinning. Something's got to give."
FROM: Maria Shriver, Demi Moore, Vanessa Williams: A Mother's Day Special
Published on January 01, 2006