Kerry Washington shared intimate details about life in a new interview with Good Morning America host Robin Roberts.
Timed to coincide with the Sept. 26 release of her memoir Thicker Than Water, Washington sat down with Roberts for an interview that aired Sunday night on 20/20.
The Scandal star said she’s always kept her private life private, until now.
“I’ve never wanted to share my private life for the sake of fame or for the sake of attention, but I feel like this sharing is with purpose,” Washington told Roberts.
The actress and producer detailed her struggle with food and said she suffered from an eating disorder that became “toxic.”
“By the time I got to college, my relationship with food and my body had become a toxic cycle of self-abuse that utilized the tools of starvation, binge eating, body obsession and compulsive exercise,” Washington revealed in her memoir, according to an excerpt aired on the special.
Kerry Washington appeared in a rare interview together with her parents, Valerie and Earl Washington, for a candid conversation with @RobinRoberts about the family secrets #KerryWashington reveals in #ThickerThanWater.https://t.co/saRRzRwV0M pic.twitter.com/7sJHjKkWdt
— 20/20 (@ABC2020) September 25, 2023
The actress explained when she knew things had gone too far.
“The first time that I actually got on my knees and prayed to some power greater than myself to say like, ‘I can’t do this. I need some help,’ was with my eating disorder,” she said.
Washington, 46, said she partied a lot and used substances, but knew “how to manage.”
What she struggled to control was her relationship with food.
“The body dysmorphia, the body hatred, it was beyond my control,” she said. “I could feel how the abuse was a way to really hurt myself as if I didn’t want to be here. It scared me that I could want to not be here because I was in so much pain.”
Asked in the interview if she ever considered suicide, Washington replied, “Yeah.”
The actress also revealed she learned in 2018 that her dad, Earl Washington, is not her biological father.
She said her parents used a sperm donor to conceive her as they struggled with fertility issues.
Washington’s parents joined the interview and discussed their “family secret.”
They said they told their daughter about her biological father in 2018, when she informed them she was planning to appear on PBS’ Finding Your Roots, which shows celebrities learning about their ancestry through DNA testing.