Kerry Washington discovered her dad is not really her biological father. Her real father was a sperm donor.
The actress told PEOPLE she was shocked to learn the startling revelation about her parents.
In her new memoir, Thicker Than Water, the 46-year-old “Scandal” star explained how she learned her dad, Earl Washington, was not her biological father.
“It really turned my world upside down,” Washington tells PEOPLE.
The star discovered the family secret shortly after she told her parents she was planning to appear on Louis Gates Jr.’s Finding Your Roots, a PBS series where celebrities submit to DNA testing.
Kerry’s mom, Valerie, a professor, and dad, Earl, a real estate agent, had a private conversation with Louis Gates, who told them it was always best for families to discuss family secrets prior to filming.
Kerry received a text message from her parents inviting her to a family sit-down in 2018. That’s when they revealed the news about her real father – a sperm donor.
“When I got this information, I was like, ‘Oh. I now know my story,'” says Kerry.
“I didn’t know what my story was, but I was playing the supporting character in their story.”
Kerry says she kept her calm and asked a lot of questions. She learned that her parents opted to use an anonymous sperm donor due to fertility issues.
Kerry said she struggled with anxiety, self-esteem issues, and an eating disorder when she was young. She now feels those symptoms might have been her body subconsciously sensing her parents’ secret.
“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,” Kerry said.