Katherine Webb has taken America by storm – but her father has revealed how his beautiful daughter was actually an ugly duckling and constantly bullied in school.
Alan Webb, 52, who lives with his wife Leslie, 50, in Phenix City, Alabama, shows how proud he is of his model daughter, saying:
‘Katherine was bullied, it was enough that she would cry at home, she would complain that school was very difficult.
‘They called her names and she was very demeaned and felt very bad. Katherine was always very tall, even at a young age and taller than her classmates, and whenever you’re different it’s difficult, they would make fun of her.”
Katherine’s father also revealed that she had suffered at school after she developed Vitiligo, the same skin disorder known for discoloring pop icon Michael Jackson, aged five.
Mr Webb said: ‘That was about the worst part of it, people noticed and called her out on it.
‘That skin condition does require some doctor’s care, even though there is no cure for it, it’s under control and it’s nothing that’s life threatening.’
He added: ‘Our Christian faith is very important and we have had to rely on our beliefs and our faith in God to help that all our children would realise their potential and that any weaknesses or problems would be worked out.
‘Through her faith, Katherine has been successful in overcoming these problems. This sudden fame is so hard to imagine and so hard to grasp, it may be divinely inspired.’
Katherine is one of four siblings. She has an older brother, David, 26, and younger sister Laurie and brother Matthew, who are 19-year-old twins and both college students.
And the Webbs are most definitely blessed as Laurie, who is a student at Auburn University, bears a striking resemblance to Katherine and has also modelled locally, as well as winning a place on the Homecoming Court at her high school.
Mr Webb said: ‘Our children are a credit to us. Laurie’s done some modelling, but she’s now focusing on her college career.’
Katherine shot to fame when the cameras panned to her and 73-year-old ESPN commentator Brent Musburger gushed: ‘I’m telling you, you quarterbacks, you get all the good looking women. What a beautiful woman.’
Wow!’ former Ohio State quarterback Kirk Herbstreit added. ‘AJ’s doing some things right down in Tuscaloosa.’
‘If you’re a youngster in Alabama, start getting the football out and throw it around the backyard with pop,’ added Musburger, who has been married to his wife Arlene for 50 years.
The ensuing furore ended in a subsequent apology from ESPN – and sent Katherine’s number of Twitter followers spiking to more than 254,000 from a little over 2,000.
Ever since, her phone has been ringing off the hook, Donald Trump, who co-owns the Miss Universe Organization, said this week:
‘She was forced to change her phone number,’ Trump said. ‘She was getting thousands and thousands of calls. Katherine has to stay grounded now that she’s become a big star.’
And Mr Webb said: ‘We were at my mother’s home, watching the game, and we saw what was happening. Katherine called at half-time and we told her and she said ‘no way, are you joking?’
‘This thing was beginning to blow up, it was so surreal.’
Speaking about AJ, Mr Webb said: ‘He’s very respectful and polite. My wife’s family have met him and all commented on what a really friendly and down to earth guy he is.’
However, he said that his daughter does not want to pursue celebrity status, saying: ‘She wants to give back to people. A lot of people don’t know her and know what a tender heart she has concerning others.
‘They see her as this new celebrity, but there’s great depth to her.’
Meanwhile, her sister is just as proud of her as her parents are and tweeted: ‘It’s so crazy, I’m so excited for her!
Ashton Tyler | Elite.
Photo Credit: Monica Schipper/Getty Images