Kerry Washington Reveals Her Dad Isn’t Her Biological Father, Calls It ‘The Missing Puzzle Piece’

The actress also reveals in her new memoir that not knowing contributed to her anxiety and eating disorder

Actress Kerry Washington is preparing to release her most personal project yet: her memoir “Thicker Than Water,” set to hit stores Tuesday. In the book, Washington dives deeply into personal topics including the revelation that her dad is not her biological father — a fact that she only found out recently.

Washington’s parents finally told her the truth ahead of her appearance on Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s PBS series “Finding Your Roots.” After Washington’s mom and dad approached Gates with this information, he encouraged Valerie and Earl to come clean with their daughter.

The news “really turned my world upside down,” Washington tells People. Her parents had opted to use a sperm donor to conceive after struggling with infertility, and the actress says that finally being told the truth allowed her to have “so much more love and compassion and understanding for my parents.”

It also allowed her to love herself, she says. Elsewhere in the memoir Washington admits to struggling with anxiety, self-esteem and an eating disorder for years. She believes now that this secret is connected to those experiences.

“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 said.

The “Scandal” star previously spoke to Robin Roberts about her mental and physical health journey as part of a “20/20” special that airs Sunday.

“It scared me that I could not want to be here because I was in so much pain,” she told Roberts. “The behavior was tiny little acts of trying to destroy myself.”

The press release for the book also states that “Thicker Than Water” will offer “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.”