Kerry Washington is opening up like never before in her new memoir, Thicker Than Water. In one portion of her book, the Django Unchained actress, 46, revealed that she had an abortion early in her career and used a different name to undergo the procedure.
“I struggled a lot in the beginning with whether or not to include my abortion story,” Kerry told PEOPLE in an interview that was published on Sunday, September 25. “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.”
As for why she chose to share this detail in her memoir, the Scandal alum noted, “We’re at a moment where it’s really important to be telling the truth about our reproductive choices because some of those choices are being stripped away from us.”
“I’m telling my truth about my life, excavating some of my secrets,” Kerry acknowledged. “I don’t want my not telling it to make anybody think there is shame to be had. … This story had so much to do with my understanding of myself and the world as my career unfolded.”
Kerry concluded that she does not want abortion to be considered “a bad word” and that “[her] abortion is not another thing on the list of things that [she is] ashamed of.”
In her book, the New York native explained that she used a different name for the abortion in order to maintain her privacy. At the time of the unplanned pregnancy, her career was reaching new heights. Moreover, Kerry confessed to feeling shameful yet hypocritical because she spent her teen years as a sexual health educator, according to the outlet.
Kerry now shares her daughter, Isabelle, and her son, Caleb, with husband Nnamdi Asomugha.
In addition to her pregnancy revelation, the Fantastic Four actress unraveled other aspects of her personal life in her book, including the discovery that her father isn’t her biological father and her 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 utilized the tools of starvation, binge eating, body obsession and compulsive exercise,” the George Washington University graduate wrote. “I would — when seeking to stuff my feelings — stuff my face, secretly binge eating for days at a time, often to the point of physical pain, sometimes to the point of passing out.”
Kerry’s memoir, Thicker Than Water, will be available on Tuesday, September 26.