Kerry Washington Opens Up in New Book About Discovering Her Dad Is Not Her Biological Father

It's been a journey of self-discovery for Kerry

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Kerry Washington.
Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

A few years ago, Kerry Washington, 46, made a shocking revelation about her family, when she discovered that her father,  Earl, is not actually her biological dad. Now, Washington is opening up about her journey of self-discovery in light of this surprising news.

The Scandal actress details this journey in her new memoir, Thicker than Water, which hits bookstores on September 26. But ahead of the book’s release, Washington opened up to People about writing the emotional account.

Flashback to 2018, and this is when Washington found out the family secret. At the time, she was due to appear on the PBS show Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr., which follows celebrities as they learn about their ancestry through DNA testing. When Washington’s parents, Earl and Valerie, learned she was going to appear on the show, they decided to tell her the truth—that they had used an anonymous sperm donor to help conceive her after encountering fertility issues.

“It really turned my world upside down,” Washington said. “When I got this information, I was like, ‘Oh. I now know my story.’”

While this was quite shocking to the Little Fires Everywhere star, it eventually helped her to grow, and ultimately inspired her to write Thicker than Water.

“I didn't know what my story was, but I was playing the supporting character in their story,” Washington told People. “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 added, “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.”

The New York-born star added that this process of writing actually helped her to feel closer to her parents. “I really started to have so much more love and compassion and understanding for my parents,” she said. “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.”

Washington’s memoir will explore many other personal aspects of her life, in addition to this major discovery. We can't wait to pick up a copy.

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Associate Editor, News and Entertainment

Joel is the Associate Editor for News & Entertainment and has been reporting on all things pop culture for over 5 years. Before working at PureWow, he served as a Features...