Kerry Washington contemplated suicide while in the grip of a “toxic” eating disorder.
The ‘Django Unchained’ actress, 46, has been opening about her traumas ahead of the publication of her memoir ‘Thicker than Water’, in which she also tells for the first time how she had an abortion in her 20s.
She told presenter Robin Roberts, 62, in a ‘20/20’ special shown on Sunday about her suicidal thoughts: “I could feel how the abuse was a way to really hurt myself, as if I didn’t want to be here.
“It scared me that I could not want to be here because I was in so much pain.”
She said at the time she was trapped in “a toxic cycle of self-abuse that utilised the tools of starvation, binge eating, body obsession and compulsive exercise”.
Washington has also said ahead of the release of her tell-all book she refuses to be “ashamed” by the termination she had when her career was taking off.
The ‘Scandal’ actress, 46, is now mom to three children – a teenage stepdaughter, daughter Isabelle, eight, and son Caleb, six, with her 42-year-old actor husband Nnamdi Asomugha.
She tells in her autobiography how she accidentally got pregnant just after shooting her role in the 2004 film ‘She Hate Me’ – and says she gave doctors a false name at the time as she didn’t want to harm her rising career.
Washington also reveals she initially felt “a degree of hypocrisy” about getting an abortion as she worked as a sexual health educator when she was a teenager.
But she told People about how her mind has since changed about terminations: “It’s just so important to me that abortion is not a bad word, and that my abortion is not another thing on the list of things that I’m ashamed of.”
She also said she “struggled” to decide if she would include her “abortion story” in her book, but decided it was “really important for me to share this”.
Washington added: “This story had so much to do with my understanding of myself and the world as my career unfolded.”
Referring to how on 24 June, 2022, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade – meaning Americans no longer have a constitutional right to abortion – Washington hit out: “We’re at a moment where it’s really important to be telling the truth about our reproductive choices because some of those choices are being stripped away from us.”