Kerry Washington emotionally reveals she contemplated suicide amid battle with eating disorder during her college years: ‘I was trying to destroy myself’
Kerry Washington has revealed she contemplated suicide during the height of her eating disorder battle during her college years.
The actress, now 46, revealed she fell into a cycle of “binge eating and endless exercise” as she struggled to maintain a “perfect” image in an emotional interview with Robin Roberts for a 20/20 special on Sunday .
The Scandal star, who will release her memoir Thicker Than Water on September 26, writes that her life had become “a toxic cycle of self-abuse, using the tools of starvation, binge eating, body obsession and compulsive exercise.”
‘I felt like the abuse was a way of really hurting myself, like I didn’t want to be here. It scared me that I didn’t want to be here because I was in so much pain.”
When asked if she had considered suicide, she replied: ‘Yes. Yes… The behavior consisted of small acts of trying to destroy myself.
Devastating: Kerry Washington has revealed she contemplated suicide during the height of her eating disorder battle while in college (pictured April 2023)
Seen at university: The actress, now 46, revealed she fell into a cycle of ‘binge eating and endless exercise’ as she struggled to maintain a ‘perfect’ image in an emotional interview with Robin Roberts for a special broadcast of 20/20 on Sunday
“The first thing that brought me to my knees – like the first time I got down on my knees and prayed to a power greater than myself to say, ‘I can’t do this, I need help’ – was with my food. disorder.’
‘I was good at performing ‘perfectly’. I was in good control. I could party all night and drink and smoke and have sex and still show up and get good grades. I knew how to handle it; I was functioning so well and the food got me out of it.
“The body dysmorphia, the body hatred, it was out of my control and made me feel like, ‘I need help for someone or something bigger than me because I’m in trouble and I don’t know how to live with this .”’
The star said that while she is now over the worst of her condition, she still has to ‘check herself’ every now and then
She said: ‘I wouldn’t say I never do anything with food, it’s just very different now. It’s not to the extreme. There are no suicidal thoughts, I’m not there anymore. But I know, “Oh, I’m really into this chocolate, this is good information for me.”
‘The bottom has come a lot higher, where a little discomfort is enough to know that this is a way to control myself. But it certainly looks a lot healthier. It’s a lot easier. It’s a lot healthier than it used to be.’
Candid: ‘I was good at performing ‘perfectly’. I was in good control. I could party all night and drink and smoke and have sex and still show up and get good grades. I knew how to handle it; I was functioning so well that the food took me out (photo at George Washington University)
In 2020, Washington spoke to Essence Magazine about her eating disorder and the shame she felt while secretly battling the condition.
She said, “I would eat anything and everything…sometimes until I passed out,” she told the magazine in 2020. But because I had a perfectionism-driven personality, I would tell people I was at the library, but instead go to the gym and exercise for hours.
‘Keeping my behavior a secret was painful and isolating. There was a lot of guilt and a lot of shame.”
She began undergoing therapy to treat her condition, adding, “Learning how to love myself and my body is a lifelong process. But I definitely don’t struggle like I used to.
‘The therapy has made me realize that it might be okay if I express my feelings. Instead of literally stuffing them with food, maybe it’s okay for me to express myself.”
Washington and her husband, former NFL star Nnamdi Asomugha – whom she married in 2013 – share daughter Isabelle, eight, and son Caleb, six.
The New York-born actress made her film debut with an appearance in Magical Make-Over (1994).
Once her career took off, she was offered roles in bigger feature films such as the 2001 film Save The Last Dance, and was also cast in Mr & Mrs alongside Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Smith (2005).
She later starred in Quentin Tarantino’s critically acclaimed feature film, Django Unchained in 2012, and that same year she got her start on the ABC series Scandal, which led to her receiving a number of Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominations for her performance.
Couple: Washington and her husband, former NFL star Nnamdi Asomugha – whom she married in 2013 – share daughter Isabelle, eight, and son Caleb, six (photo 2018)
After the series ended in 2018, she had continued success, such as working with Reese Witherspoon in Little Fires Everywhere and the Netflix adaptation, The School For Good And Evil.
In addition to being prominent in the entertainment industry, Kerry is also known for her activism and was featured in Time Women Of The Year in 2022.
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If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, visit NationalEatingDisorders.org