Kerry Washington at Los Angeles Premiere Of Hulu's "UnPrisoned"

Kerry Washington Reveals Shocking Family Secret About Her Father In Her Memoir 'Thicker Than Water'

Home / Top Stories / Kerry Washington Reveals Shocking Family Secret About Her Father In Her Memoir 'Thicker Than Water'

By Favour Adegoke on September 24, 2023 at 2:00 PM EDT

In her forthcoming memoir, Thicker Than Water, Kerry Washington reveals a startling family secret—her dad, Earl Washington, is not her biological father.

This revelation, which she discovered while planning to appear on "Finding Your Roots," a PBS series exploring ancestry through DNA testing, profoundly impacted her. Her parents, Valerie and Earl, shared this hidden truth privately before filming.

Her memoir, set for release on September 26, aims to provide readers with an intimate glimpse into her public and private life as an artist, advocate, entrepreneur, mother, daughter, wife, and Black woman.

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Kerry Washington Finds Out Her Dad Is Not Her Biological Father

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Kerry Washington has unveiled a shocking revelation about her parentage in her new memoir, Thicker Than Water. The 46-year-old actress recently learned that her father, Earl Washington, is not her biological father, leading her on a profound journey of self-discovery.

In an interview with People magazine, the "Scandal" actress expressed how this discovery turned her world "upside down." She revealed that she stumbled upon this family secret shortly after deciding to participate in Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s PBS series, "Finding Your Roots," where celebrities explore their ancestry through DNA testing.

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Kerry Washington Says Her Past Struggles May Be Linked To The Hidden Truth

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Washington's parents, Valerie and Earl, had kept the long-held secret about her parentage, and they decided to share it with her privately before appearing on the PBS series "Finding Your Roots."

Recalling the incident, Washington shared she received a text from her parents inviting her to a family discussion in spring 2018.

The "Django Unchained" actress explained that learning the truth was a relief for her, saying, "When I got this information, I was like, 'Oh. I now know my story.' " She shared that she had sensed something was missing, adding, "I didn't know what my story was, but I was playing the supporting character in their story."

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During their discussion, Washington learned her parents had struggled with fertility issues and used an anonymous sperm donor to conceive, opting not to tell her.

The "Little Fires Everywhere" star noted that her past struggles with anxiety, self-esteem, and an eating disorder might have been related to this hidden truth. 

"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 rationalized.

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Kerry Washington Says She Has Found The 'Missing Puzzle Piece' In Her Life

Kerry Washington at the 5th American Black Film Festival Honors

Washington's newfound understanding of her parentage inspired her to share her true story with the world in her memoir, Thicker Than Water. The Emmy Award-winner shared that she views the information as a "missing puzzle piece" in her life.

Initially, her parents were not enthusiastic about her writing this book, but they became supportive as she progressed. The memoir allowed her to prioritize herself and become the most "important person in her life."

This experience deepened her bond with her parents, fostering love, compassion, and understanding. Exploring their family history made her appreciate their sacrifices and challenges, bringing her closer to them.

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"I really started to have so much more love and compassion and understanding for my parents," she revealed. "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' To Hit The Shelves On September 26

Kerry Washington
Instagram | Kerry Washington

Washington's memoir, Thicker Than Water, scheduled for release on September 26, is set to unveil numerous revelations about her life. The book promises to provide readers with "an intimate view into both her public and private worlds — as an artist, an advocate, an entrepreneur, a mother, a daughter, a wife, a Black woman."

During a chat with People in January, Washington expressed the deeply personal nature of writing this memoir, stating, "Writing a memoir is, by far, the most deeply personal project I have ever taken on. I hope that readers will receive it with open hearts and I pray that it offers new insights and perspectives, and invites people into deeper compassion — for themselves and others."

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