Kerry Washington is opening up about a shocking discovery she made about her parents.
In her upcoming memoir, Thicker Than Water, the former “Scandal” star reveals that her father isn’t actually her biological father, something she discovered after participating in a celebrity genealogy TV show.
“It really turned my world upside down.”
As Washington told People, it all began when she told her parents she was planning to appear Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s PBS series “Finding Your Roots”, in which celebrities learn about their family trees via DNA testing.
Her parents, Earl and Valerie Washington, reached out to Gates, who told them he felt it was best for them to tell their daughter the truth themselves. As a result, they told her that, due to fertility issues, her biological father is an anonymous sperm donor, and that they had made the decision not to tell her.
“It really turned my world upside down,” Washington told People.
“When I got this information, I was like, ‘Oh. I now know my story.’ I didn’t know what my story was, but I was playing the supporting character in their story,” she explained.
“I think that dissonance of like, ‘Somebody is not telling me something about my body,’ made me feel like there was something in my body I had to fix,” she says, wondering how much that may have contributed to issues she’s experienced with anxiety and self-esteem.
“This is really kind of me working to understand my life up until now, given this new information that I have that, in many ways, felt like sort of the missing puzzle piece,” she said.
“I really started to have so much more love and compassion and understanding for my parents,” she added. “Taking this deep dive into our family history made me put myself in their shoes and think about the things that they’ve had to navigate and what they’ve been through and what they’ve sacrificed. And it really made me feel closer to them.”
Thicker Than Water hits bookstores on Tuesday, Sept. 26.