Porsha Williams in memoir reveals an abortion, being wooed by R. Kelly, divorce drama

Porsha Williams on "Watch What Happens Live" in 2020. -- (Photo by: Bravo)
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Porsha Williams on "Watch What Happens Live" in 2020. -- (Photo by: Bravo)

Credit: Bravo

She found out her husband Kordell Stewart was divorcing her via Twitter.

Over the years, Bravo viewers watched Porsha Williams on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” from different vantage points: submissive wife; independent, sassy entrepreneur; mother; and social justice warrior.

But as her new memoir “The Pursuit of Porsha” reveals, Williams ― granddaughter of civil rights legend Hosea Williams ― is far more than what is shown in the confines of a reality TV show.

In a tight 209 pages, she spills a barrelful of tea about herself at a juncture in her life where she has just left two major TV jobs: “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” and syndicated entertainment news show “Dish Nation.”

“Leaving reality television after 10 years, people have gotten to know me and been on this journey with me,” Williams said in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I just felt it was my duty to give them the other side, to give them a full picture of the highs and lows I’ve had throughout my life to get where I am today.”

She also wanted to leave stories her 2-year-old daughter Pilar can read later that can help her “find her power earlier in her life” and perhaps avoid some of the mistakes Williams made in her younger years.

Williams said the title of the book ties in with the thematics she tried to thread with the various anecdotes she chose. “The constant in my life was me not knowing my worth,” she said, “not loving me enough, not shaping my life, being a shadow of my true self.” Only recently, she said, did she find her voice and her true happiness.

Porsha Williams wrote a book "The Pursuit of Porsha" out Nov. 30, 2021.
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Porsha Williams wrote a book "The Pursuit of Porsha" out Nov. 30, 2021.

Credit: Worthy Publishing

Credit: Worthy Publishing

The most notable revelation in the book is her surreal time with disgraced R&B star R. Kelly, now in prison after being convicted in September for exploiting his fame to run a scheme to sexually abuse women and children over two decades.

While Williams was in her 20s, a man asked her to sing at a club and suggested R. Kelly could help her build a music career. Star-struck, she flew to Chicago. But when she met him, he never asked her to sing. Instead, he treated her like a good friend, then had sex with her. On a second visit, he told his family he loved her and wanted to have a child with her.

Over three visits, Kelly would leave her in rooms in his sprawling mansion for hours, sometimes days at a time, by herself. She eventually discovered he had several women in similar situations at any given time. She eventually broke it off with him by phone.

Years later, Williams would tell her story to authorities investigating Kelly.

“I didn’t have the courage to speak out before,” Williams said. “These are things that are traumatizing to me, things I hadn’t faced. I decided to face them now to bring strength to someone else who finds themselves in a similar situation.”

Even her younger sister Lauren had no clue what had really happened. “I cried reading it,” Lauren said. “She really put a smile on for me. She’d come home and say nothing was wrong.”

THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA -- Season:11 -- Pictured: (l-r) Kandi Burruss, Porsha Williams, Cynthia Bailey, NeNe Leakes, Eva Marcille, Shamari Devoe -- (Photo by: Alex Martinez/Bravo)
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THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA -- Season:11 -- Pictured: (l-r) Kandi Burruss, Porsha Williams, Cynthia Bailey, NeNe Leakes, Eva Marcille, Shamari Devoe -- (Photo by: Alex Martinez/Bravo)

Credit: Bravo

Credit: Bravo

Williams also revealed an abortion she had after getting pregnant with NFL football player Clinton Portis in her early 20s. But she said he wasn’t willing to marry her and build a family. She felt this was the right decision at the time. “I longed to be a mother, and every good mother knows how to spot toxic and dangerous situations to protect their children, even those who are unborn,” she wrote.

She said this is the first time she has ever talked about it. “It was really, really difficult to revisit because that was something that when I went through it, took years to forgive myself and move past it and understand what my state was to have that happen.”

“No one can police your body,” she added. “No one can speak to what a woman is experiencing and that amount of loss you feel and sadness you feel and it’s so many different emotions when you make that decision. It’s a very personal decision you have to make.”

She also describes a relationship with a man who, for a time, sexually assaulted her. “I wanted to show that you can be in a relationship with someone you have slept with before, that they can still do something to harm you and it isn’t okay sexually. I want to make sure I put that out there and speak for other victims in other cases.”

Williams spends a long swath of the book detailing her rocky relationship with former NFL player Kordell Stewart. She said she loved him and had a fairy-tale wedding, but the two years they were married lacked warmth, connection and, ultimately, communication.

She said she considered the marriage a “covenant involving me and him and God. It’s [Stewart] as a person I was disappointed in. I will continue my covenant with God.”

They divorced after two years, with Stewart filing papers without even telling her about it. She found out he had done so via Twitter.

Stewart, a former sports commentator and now a high school football coach, said in an interview that the marriage by the time she joined “Real Housewives” was already on the rocks but the show didn’t help matters. He doesn’t begrudge Williams for what she wrote about him.

“She’s doing her thing,” Stewart said. “She’s making it work however she makes it work for her. The hustle is real. She has to make ends meet and maintain a certain level of status. That’s good.”

Williams said “Real Housewives” helped her build her confidence and “gave me this platform. It gave me this way out. It gave me a road to walk on.”

“Say Her Name” rally and march organizers Zoe Bambara (from left) and Mary-Pat Hector stand in solidarity with Porsha Williams, granddaughter of Hosea Williams, and hundreds of other supporters before they march to Atlanta City Hall during the 10th day of protests in Atlanta. ALYSSA POINTER / ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM
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“Say Her Name” rally and march organizers Zoe Bambara (from left) and Mary-Pat Hector stand in solidarity with Porsha Williams, granddaughter of Hosea Williams, and hundreds of other supporters before they march to Atlanta City Hall during the 10th day of protests in Atlanta. ALYSSA POINTER / ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM

Last year, she found a new side of herself when she began protesting police brutality last year. The book chronicles the emotional impact battling tear gas on the streets of Atlanta, then getting arrested twice to protest the death of Breonna Taylor, had on her.

Social justice, she said, “is truly in my blood. I better understand the pain and hurt my grandfather went through fighting for civil rights. I fear for my daughter in these times, in this type of world. I have a duty to get out there and lend my voice and my platform.”

She isn’t quite out of the reality game just yet. A Bravo spin-off show “Porsha Family Matters” was shot over the summer featuring her family ― including her daughter’s father Dennis McKinley and her current fiancé Simon Guobadia. She’s also an executive producer on the show, which debuts Nov. 28.

“You’ll see every part of my personality, the crazy, sexy, cool of it all,” she said. “It’s also about how blended families work together. I deal with some tough truths. At the end of the day, it’s family. We may kick and scream but at the end of the day, we love each other.”

Porsha Williams with her daughter PJ an her ex Dennis McKinley. They recorded a kids' album together. CONTRIBUTED
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Porsha Williams with her daughter PJ an her ex Dennis McKinley. They recorded a kids' album together. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED


WHERE TO WATCH

“Porsha’s Family Matters,” 9 p.m. Sundays on Bravo starting Nov. 28.

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