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'Scandal' star Kerry Washington talks about dad not being her biological father, abortion, suicidal thoughts

By NICK GARCIA Published Sep 26, 2023 10:43 am

Trigger warning: This story contains mentions of an eating disorder, suicide, and self-harm.

Kerry Washington of Scandal fame dropped shocking revelations in her memoir, including her dad not being her biological father, abortion in her 20s, and contemplating suicide amid her eating disorder.

In Thicker Than Water, the 46-year-old actress wrote that her world was turned "upside down" upon learning the truth about her father Earl.

In a sit-down special with Good Morning America about her book, Washington said she informed her parents about appearing on the television series Finding Your Roots, which traces the lineage of celebrities, and then told her in a text that they want to set a family sit-down.

During the private conversation, Washington learned her parents had fertility issues, and they opted for an anonymous sperm donor.

"When my dad told me, I realized that every time that I have said, 'I love you,' to my dad, that there has been this little part of his brain, conscious or unconscious that has had to have said, 'She loves me because she thinks I am her father,'" she opened up.

"So I'm saying I love him, from his perspective, on the condition of a lie/ The moment that he told me, I realized that I had the opportunity to, for the first time, love my father unconditionally. That he got to hear me say, 'I love you, even though I know.'" she added.

Washington, who's now a mother of three, also bared having a romantic encounter right after the success of the drama Save the Last Dance and her landing the lead role in indie comedy She Hate Me.

It led to an unplanned pregnancy that affected her showbiz career, prompting her to have an abortion.

She said she gave a false name to doctors during the procedure and felt shame and hypocritical as she's a sexual health educator in her teens.

Washington also struggled with whether she'd include the story in her memoir, but ultimately felt it's "really important" to share it. She said abortion is not a bad word and nothing to be ashamed of.

"We stay in our circles of shame because we don't talk about it. So, I challenged myself to try to write about my experience having an abortion to sort of let go of the shame about having an abortion and say, like, '[This] happens. A lot of women do this. This is a form of health care. This is okay,'" she continued.

Washington also looked back into her eating disorder in college, which became "a toxic cycle of self-abuse that utilized the tools of starvation, binge eating, body obsession, and compulsive exercise."

These things, she said, made her think about ending her life as she struggled to maintain a "perfect" image to the outside world.

Washington said she prayed for help and eventually sought therapy.

She assured the public that she's in a much better place now, though she still has to "check" in with herself from time to time.

"I’ve never wanted to share my private life for the sake of fame or for the sake of attention," she said, noting she's sharing her story with "purpose."


If you or anyone you know is considering self-harm or suicide, you may call the National Mental Health Crisis hotline at 1553 (Luzon-wide, landline toll-free), 0966-351-4518 or 0917-899-USAP (8727) for Globe/TM users, or 0908-639-2672 for Smart users.