It takes a strong stomach to read the paper these days, but some stories are just plain more disturbing than others. ABC’s show “Extreme Makeover” has always been controversial, as the combination of television and radical facial reconstructive surgery ought to be, but an incident in 2005 really took things to the next level.
“Extreme Makeover” promised Ugly Duckling Deleese a fairy tale ending, but she ended up the subject of a cautionary tale. She was promised by the show’s execs a Cinderella-like transformation and her family and friends were encouraged to finally come out of the closet regarding her looks. They revealed what they really thought about her appearance and how it held her back, making harsh comments about her unbecoming looks. Even her sister was egged on to talk about her sister’s ‘hideous’ face.
But the night before she was supposed to get her magical transformation, the executives sent Williams packing. It turned out that the surgery she was set to receive would require a longer recovery time than the show had in mind. Not wanting to compromise their schedule, Extreme Makeover called backsies. She was quoted through her sobs saying, “How can I go back as ugly as I left? I was supposed to come home pretty.”
Her return home was less than positive. Her family was racked with guilt over what they had said and Williams was deeply depressed. She became a hermit, and rarely left the house. Four months later, her guilt ridden sister overdosed on pills, alcohol and cocaine and died.
A lawsuit followed but its hard to imagine that any amount of money could ease the sorrow and guilt felt by the family. The entire family ended up with an Extreme Makeover, just not one they signed up for.