Kerry Washington lifts veil on her private life in new memoir and 20/20 special

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Kerry Washington, who is known for her most popular role as Olivia Pope in ABC’s hit primetime show Scandal, is opening up like never before in her memoir, Thicker than Water.

“I’ve never wanted to share my private life for the sake of fame or for the sake of attention — but I feel like this sharing is with purpose,” Washington told Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts in the upcoming one-hour 20/20 special, Kerry Washington: Thicker Than Water — A Conversation with Robin Roberts.

In her new book, out Sept. 26, the Golden Globe-nominated actor and Emmy-winning producer opens up about the depths of an eating disorder, which she says hit its extremes in college.

“The first time that I actually got on my knees and prayed to some power greater than myself to say, like, ‘I can’t do this; I need some help,’ was with my eating disorder,” she told Roberts in the upcoming special. “The behavior was just so abusive toward myself with food, with exercise, with starving — with bingeing, with — it just was — I could not control it.”

She added, “I could party all night, and drink, and smoke, and have sex, and still show up and have good grades. And I knew how to manage. I was so high-functioning.”

Washington called her behavior “little acts of trying to destroy myself,” adding, “…that hopelessness and agony led to thoughts of suicide.”

Today, the actor has a new lease on life, telling ABC News that it’s “different now,” regarding how she has changed her relationship with food from years ago.

Washington’s conversation with Roberts airs Sunday, Sept. 24, at 10 p.m. ET on ABC. It will also be available to stream the next day on Hulu.

If you or someone you know is battling an eating disorder, contact the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) at 1-800-931-2237 or

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide – free, confidential help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call or text the national lifeline at 988.

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