Every so often, Vanity Fair will consent to putting a television star on their hallowed cover, but there's typically an implicit bargain that actor has to make to earn it. Think back to Teri Hatcher, who grabbed VF's top spot only after revealing how childhood sexual abuse led to fantasies of suicide (which the magazine teased on its cover with some disconcertingly unclad pictures of the star, because of course). Now, Vanity Fair has placed Tina Fey on the cover — an utterly justified spot, to be sure — and has finally nudged the actress and her husband to reveal something Fey always said she wouldn't: just how she got that famous facial scar.

A faint scar runs across Tina Fey’s left cheek, the result of a violent cutting attack by a stranger when Fey was five. Her husband [Jeff Richmond] says, “It was in, like, the front yard of her house, and somebody who just came up, and she just thought somebody marked her with a pen.” [...]

“That scar was fascinating to me,” Richmond recalls. “This is somebody who, no matter what it was, has gone through something. And I think it really informs the way she thinks about her life. When you have that kind of thing happen to you, that makes you scared of certain things, that makes you frightened of different things, your comedy comes out in a different kind of way, and it also makes you feel for people.”

Fey herself rarely mentions the episode. “It’s impossible to talk about it without somehow seemingly exploiting it and glorifying it,” she says.

Too true. Still, we feel for Fey — it's a terrible thing to have had happen (and certainly, it can't help that fully half of Maureen Dowd's VF article obsesses over Fey's appearance in some way). Almost as bad? Nancy Franklin's weirdly cruel, inaccurate 30 Rock writeup in the current New Yorker, which slams Fey and every other cast member but one in a piece that really should be retitled, "I Wanna Nail Alec Baldwin; Here is Why." Don't worry, Nance — that Eva Longoria profile offer should be yours before you even know it!