Kerry Washington says her feelings of “not quite belonging” in her family, which she has had since childhood, are the result of a long-hidden secret: she was conceived with the help of a sperm donor.
The actress opened up about the revelation in new interviews with The New York Times And Peoplecoupled with the release of her upcoming memoir, Thicker than water. The memoirs, which were released on September 26, were initially the proposal of friends Scandal boss Shonda Rhimes years ago, with Washington admitting that at the time she had a “nagging feeling” that she “didn’t know myself well enough” to pull it off.
Now, Thicker Than Water delves deep into her educational and performance journeys, as well as her relationship with water and a local pool — where “moving through water always felt more natural to me than walking on land.” But she also discusses more difficult topics, such as various mental illnesses – depression, an eating disorder and insomnia – and the shocking revelation that her father was not her biological parent.
That was something she discovered after wrapping up her seven-season run as the lead on the ABC hit Scandal and decided to dig into her past with the help of Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s helper. hosted PBS series Finding your roots. Washington told New York Times that when she went to collect DNA spit samples for the show, her mother and father had noticeable hesitation. “I said, ‘I just don’t think they’re going to agree to it. My dad is really uncomfortable,” she recalled.
But Gates went to secretly talk to her parents — Valerie, a professor, and Earl, a real estate agent — and then they wondered whether the possibility of Washington, not their biological child, “would come up in the tests ‘. said actress. In response, Gates suggested that they have conversations with them about the nature of Washington’s origins while they were all still alive.
‘I’ve always had a strange relationship with my father, but I thought it was my fault. I thought I wasn’t friendly enough. But the idea that I wasn’t his never occurred to me. It was just, why can’t I be better to him? Why can’t we be closer? What is wrong with me? What’s wrong with us?” she said.
The Emmy-winning actress said she had mixed feelings when she learned the truth, including liberation and excitement. But there were also feelings of guilt “because I could see how much pain my parents were in, especially my father” and resentment.
“I think the dissonance of ‘Someone isn’t telling me about my body’ made me feel like there was something in my body that I needed to fix,” she shared. Peoplenoting that her feelings of not belonging were the cause of her eating disorder, anxiety, and self-esteem issues.
Washington, who said her mother planned to tell her by leaving a note in a safe, compared the discovery while speaking to police. Timeto wandering through a library looking for a book about herself before her parents, the librarians, told her, “There’s a room we haven’t shown you.”
“I was born in a lie. I played a supporting character in my parents’ story,” she added. “I know their intention was to protect me, to love me, to care for me, to keep my world simple. I don’t tell myself for years, but I have been an adult for over twenty years.”
Washington attempted to locate her biological father, but according to the TimeDespite her “efforts, there is still no way to determine his identity.” She also said that at one point she “tried to get the publisher (Little, Brown Spark) to give them their money back” because the book she was pitching was no longer the one she could write.
The actress told People her decision to include the revelation in her memoir was difficult for her parents, although they are generally supportive. She also says she will be forever grateful to Skip Gates and what she learned from her experience on his show. “I’m still missing the part of not knowing where half of my biology comes from,” she told the BBC New York Times. “At least I no longer have any wrong pieces in the puzzle.”