In an interview with Robin Roberts for 20/20, notable actress Kerry Washington opened up about her struggles with an eating disorder, revealing that she contemplated suicide during the peak of her disorder. The 46-year-old actress shared that her relationship with food and her body had become a “toxic cycle of self-abuse” that involved behaviors such as starvation, binge eating, body obsession, and compulsive exercise.
Washington admitted that the abuse was a way for her to hurt herself, expressing her fear that she could reach a point where she no longer wanted to be alive due to the immense pain she was experiencing. She admitted that her behavior was characterized by “tiny little acts of trying to destroy” herself, leading her to consider suicide.
“I could feel how the abuse was a way to really hurt myself, as if I didn’t want to be here,” the Golden Globe nominee explained. “It scared me that I could not want to be here because I was in so much pain.”
The Scandal star also disclosed that she prayed for help with her eating disorder as it took control of her life. She acknowledged that she had always been good at maintaining a “perfect” image for the outside world, but her struggle with food and body dysmorphia was beyond her control.
Although Washington is in a much better place now, she emphasized that she must still be mindful of her actions and “check herself.” While she no longer experiences suicidal ideation, she acknowledged that she occasionally has moments where she acts out with food. However, her relationship with food has become healthier, and she now recognizes when she needs to step back and address any discomfort.
The actress, usually private about her personal life, explained that she shares her story purposefully. She hopes that speaking out will help others who may be going through similar struggles.
Washington previously discussed her eating disorder in a 2020 interview with Essence, describing her guilt and shame. She sought help through therapy, which she continues to this day. Washington, who has three children with her husband, former NFL star Nnamdi Asomugha, wants to emphasize that learning to love oneself and one’s body is a lifelong process. She hopes therapy and expressing her feelings instead of using food as a coping mechanism will guide others toward healing.
Washington will give fans a more intimate look at her struggles in her upcoming memoir, “Thicker Than Water, available for purchase next Tuesday.