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Miss USA Tara Conner Hints at Child Abuse, Says She Used Cocaine in TV Interview

Miss USA Tara Conner has used cocaine and "witnessed" abuse as a child, she told "Today" show host Matt Lauer Thursday in an interview.

The newly rehabilitated beauty queen, who has just come out of a drug and alcohol treatment center after her wild partying nearly cost her the Miss USA title in December, hinted at the abuse when said she had confronted someone who had "betrayed" her as a little girl.

Conner also fessed up to using cocaine and other drugs and having a problem with alcohol.

She characterized herself as "manipulative" and implied her behavior may have developed because of abuse "early on." She didn't disclose the nature of the abuse or who was involved.

"I will not deny that I have witnessed some abuse, but out of respect for my family ... this is something I need to take one day at a time," Conner told Lauer.

She also spoke about her alcohol and drug use.

"I have done cocaine, yes," Conner told Lauer in the interview, which aired Thursday morning. "To be honest, at first, I kind of held back on it a little bit, but there's no sense."

Conner also admitted taking antidepressants and other drugs that triggered an allergic reaction.

"I've tried several different things. But, you know, it's always the same effect," she says. "The more I get it off my chest, the better I feel about myself. It's not healthy for my recovery to sit here and hold things back."

In an interview in the forthcoming Feb. 12 issue of People magazine, Conner elaborates on her battle with addiction.

"Cocaine was one of the drugs that I did use," she tells People. "It's hard to look back at that."

Alcohol, though, was her biggest vice.

"I'm an alcoholic. It was a craving thing — once I put it in my body, I would start craving more," says Conner, who notes she drank heavily but wasn't "getting sloppy drunk and dancing on tables."

As for reports that her wild ways also included promiscuity, she says, "I would talk to more than one guy at once — it doesn't mean that I was sexually active with every one of these people."

The Kentucky native, who has a family history of alcoholism, says her problems "didn't develop overnight." And, she adds, "It wasn't New York City's fault."

Her mother, Brenda Johnson, tells the magazine that Conner once showed up to school drunk when she was 14 — the same year she won her first beauty pageant and her parents divorced.

Conner, who now lives with a chaperone, says she spends time reading instead of running around town. "I thought I needed to be around people, that I needed that acceptance," People quotes her as saying.

The beauty queen will make her first public appearance since rehab this Sunday morning on the runway at the Tadashi show at New York City Fashion Week.

"I don't know how they are going to react when they see me on the runway," Conner told the New York Post. "But I hope they are accepting and open-minded."

Conner and Miss Teen USA Katie Blair, who will also be a model in the show, are more than familiar with Tadashi Shoji's work — he has been both an official sponsor of Miss USA and the designer of all of the pageant's opening-segment gowns for the past four years.

"I'm honored to have Tara close my show," Shoji told the Post. "No matter what you wear, I believe clothes reflect the strength and confidence you have inside, and Tara has proven she has that."

Meanwhile, Conner has turned down a reported $1 million offer from Playboy to pose in the magazine.

"She just didn't feel it was appropriate. She will not be doing Playboy," Trump spokeswoman Rhona Graff told the New York Daily News.

FOX News' Catherine Donaldson-Evans, the New York Post and The Associated Press contributed to this report.