updated 12/01/2008 AT 2:35 PM ET
•originally published 12/01/2008 AT 3:00 PM ET
Since shooting to fame and winning Emmys as the star and creator of 30 Rock, Tina Fey has remained quiet about the dramatic story behind the faint scar that lines that left side of her face.
“It’s impossible to talk about it without somehow seemingly exploiting it and glorifying it,” Fey, 38, tells Vanity Fair in its January issue.
But when she was 5, the future TV star was playing in the front yard of her Upper Darby, Penn., home when a stranger approached the young Fey and violently cut her cheek.
“She just thought somebody marked her with a pen,” says her husband, Jeff Richmond.
And while the experience was traumatizing, Fey worked hard to keep it from affecting her childhood.
“I proceeded unaware of it. I was a very confident little kid. It’s really almost like I’m kind of able to forget about it, until I was on-camera,” says Fey, whose scenes are often shot from the right side.
Though she has overcome the obstacle, Fey says that she does worry about how it may one day affect her role as a mother to daughter Alice, 3.
“Supposedly, I will go crazy,” says Fey. “My therapist says, ‘When Alice is the age that you were, you may go crazy.’ ”
Went on Weight Watchers
Besides collecting her Emmy gold, Fey spent this fall mimicking GOP vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin to great acclaim (even from the Palin camp) on Saturday Night Live and signing a $5-million book deal.
While Fey may be hotter than ever, it wasn’t always the case for the 5’4” beauty.
“She was quite round,” Richmond says of his wife’s pre-fame days in Chicago, But “in a lovely, turn-of-the-century kind of round – that beautiful, Rubenesque kind of beauty.”
But after a makeover and going on Weight Watchers during her SNL period, Fey, who is half-Russian and half-Greek, knows what her greatest assets are.
“Because of the Greek-girl thing, I have, like, boobs and butt,” she says. As a result, she adds, “I only have two speeds – either matronly or a little too slutty. I have to be steered away from cheetah print.”