Kerry Washington Opens Up About “Risky” Family Secret

"I'm telling the truth about my life."
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A decade ago, Kerry Washington shared why she has worked so hard to keep her private life out of the spotlight.

“I learned through experience that it doesn’t work for me to talk about my personal life,” she told Glamour magazine in 2013. “I have girlfriends in this business who talk about their personal lives, and it works for them … But not for me.”

Indeed, despite being one of the most well-known actresses in Hollywood, thanks to roles in critically acclaimed films like Ray and Django Unchained, plus seven seasons as the star of the hit TV show Scandal, Washington, 46, faces none of the scrutiny trained on her A-list pals. 

WATCH: Kerry Washington’s ‘Scandal’ reunion with Tony Goldwyn. Article continues after video. 

She has only been spotted with her husband, NFL player Nnamdi Asomugha who she married in June 2013 in a secret ceremony in Idaho, at a handful of public events. 

Her three children – a teenage stepdaughter Anaiya, 17, as well as daughter Isabelle, 9, and son Caleb, 6 – have been raised away from the spotlight, so her decision to write a soul-baring memoir, Thicker Than Water, has taken many by surprise.

Among the bombshells in the deeply personal book is Washington’s revelation that her dad, Earl, is not her biological father, which she discovered when her parents were reluctant to participate in the ancestry docuseries Finding Your Roots.

“My parents shared with me that my dad – my beloved dad – is not my biological father,” Washington told NPR of the conversation that went down in 2018. “I was born from a sperm donor, at a time in the ’70s where … it was considered risky and important to remain secret.”

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Learning that truth set the actress on a journey of self-discovery, which led her to feeling compelled to share more of her story, including her battles with depression and an eating disorder.

“By the time I got to college, my relationship with food and my body had become a toxic cycle of self-abuse that utilised the tools of starvation, binge eating, body obsession and compulsive exercise,” she writes in her book. “There seemed to be no escape from the demons; that hopelessness and agony led to thoughts of suicide.”

The actress also shares that she terminated her pregnancy (using a fake name) in her twenties as her career was gaining steam.

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“At first, I wasn’t really sure how it fit into this story of my life. But I started to feel like it was really important for me to share this,” Washington told People magazine.

“I’m telling my truth about my life, excavating some of my secrets. I don’t want my not telling it to make anybody think there is shame to be had.”

Washington now plans to be less guarded. “I’m learning to be in my truth publicly and to see what that feels like,” she told podcaster Jay Shetty last month.

“I’ve been so private … I’m really trying to be curious about what this experience feels like and how it changes me.”

(Credit: Getty)

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