Kerry Washington’s brave new memoir, Thicker Than Water, features several revelations about the Scandal alum’s personal life. From her family to her secret abortion, the actress and producer got candid with readers.
Scroll down to read the biggest revelations from Kerry’s memoir, Thicker Than Water.
Eating Disorder Struggles
In her book, the Django Unchained star revealed she suffered from an eating disorder, according to an excerpt shared by PEOPLE.
“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,” Kerry 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.”
The Bronx native continued by recalling that she would be “surrounded by dirty dishes, empty food boxes, and sticky leftovers” and “would resolve to rid my body of the comfort I had sought the night before. But not by throwing up; that was too messy — that behavior was for girls with eating disorders, girls who were weak and undisciplined.”
“Instead, my drive toward perfectionism directed me toward control, either by not eating for days at a time, or by exercising for several hours, all in an attempt to right the wrongs of the bingeing,” Kerry revealed. “Though they eventually led to unfathomable levels of depression, food and exercise were at first ideal ways to indulge compulsive behaviors because I could hide them more easily than drugs or alcohol. And that constant manipulation of my own behavior allowed me the illusion of control. But this excessive swinging between extremes was accompanied by a consistent hatred of my body. If my childhood had been spent in the constant pursuit of being better, the seeds of perfectionism had blossomed into self-contempt.”
A Different Biological Father
In another portion in her memoir, Kerry detailed the moment she found out that her dad, Earl Washington, isn’t her biological father. In 2018, the Primetime Emmy Award nominee was preparing to appear on PBS’ Finding Your Roots, which gives participants the chance to discover their ancestors through DNA testing. Before she went on the show, Kerry’s dad and mom, Valerie Washington, decided to tell her that they used an anonymous sperm donor to help them conceive.
“When I got this information, I was like, ‘Oh. I now know my story,’” Kerry told the outlet. “I didn’t know what my story was, but I was playing the supporting character in their story.”
Despite initially hesitating about sharing this piece of her life with the public, Kerry explained why she included her abortion story in the book.
“I’m telling my truth about my life, excavating some of my secrets,” she explained to PEOPLE. “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.”
The memoir details a time earlier in Kerry’s acting career when she experienced an unplanned pregnancy. She opted to get an abortion but used a false name to keep the procedure private.
“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,” Kerry concluded in her interview.
A Past Same-Sex Relationship
“In my adolescent years, I had an ongoing romantic relationship with a girl,” Kerry recalled in her book. “My mother asked casually, ‘What’s going on with you two?’ But I called her bluff. ‘Do you really wanna know?’ I said, hoping that she didn’t. Banking on it, in fact. ‘No,’ she said. … I think love comes in a lot of forms. I’ve had other romantic relationships.”
Childhood Sexual Abuse
Without identifying who the boy was in her memoir, the American Son actress revealed she was touched inappropriately by another child.
“He was not a pedophile,” Kerry insisted. “The truth remains that there were things done to me — while I was sleeping, and without my consent — but the perpetrator was a child himself. It is partly my compassion for him that has kept these incidents a secret, locked in the vault of my mind. … I think about that little girl standing in the hallway deciding whether or not she should tell her mommy what was happening to her. I wish she had asked for help sooner ’cause she carried that secrecy and shame and blame for too long.”
Panic Attacks From Her Parents’ Arguments
When she was only 7 years old, Kerry experienced severe panic attacks that were mostly spurred by hearing her parents argue. “I was dizzied with terror, no ground beneath me; it was crazy-making, endless. And sad,” she wrote in her book.
Kerry then told PEOPLE that when she was a teenager, she “thought [her] parents had a terrible marriage.”
“Like, why are they together?” she wondered. “And I remember my mom telling me, ‘We had beautiful years before you were even born and during years that you can’t remember.’ I learned that I don’t understand the fullness of their journey together.”