American actress, Kerry Washington has shared her painful journey with an eating disorder that made her contemplate about committing suicide.
In a recent interview with Robin Roberts for a 20/20 special, Washington disclosed that at the height of her disorder, she contemplated suicide and felt like she was “trying to destroy myself.”
The actress described how her high-functioning exterior masked her struggles with body dysmorphia and body hatred, leading her to seek help. She admitted to using food as a coping mechanism and concealing her behavior with academic pursuits.
“I was good at control. I could party all night and drink and smoke and have sex and still show up and have good grades. I knew how to manage. I was so high functioning,” Washington told Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts in an interview airing Sept. 24 on ABC.
“And the food took me out. Like, the body dysmorphia, the body hatred, it was beyond my control and really led me to feeling like I need help from somebody and something bigger than me or I am in trouble, because I don’t know how to live with this.”
The 46-year-old continued, “I could feel how the abuse was a way to really hurt myself, as if I didn’t want to be here. Like, it scared me, that I could want to not be here because I was in so much pain.”
When asked if she actually contemplated suicide, Washington said, “Yeah. The behavior was tiny, little acts of trying to destroy myself.”
The actress has previously spoken about struggling with an eating disorder before. “I used food as a way to cope,” she told Essence in 2009. “It was my best friend.”
And she explained how she was able to mask it using academics.
“I’d eat anything and everything, sometimes until I passed out,” she continued. “But then, because I had this personality that was driven toward perfectionism, I would tell people I was at the library, but instead go to the gym and exercise for hours and hours and hours. Keeping my behavior a secret was painful and isolating. There was a lot of guilt and a lot of shame.”
Washington emphasized that her relationship with food is now much healthier, and she no longer experiences suicidal thoughts.
She highlighted the importance of therapy in her recovery, helping her learn to love herself and express her feelings instead of turning to food.
“I mean, I wouldn’t say that I’d never act out with food,” she told Roberts in her recent interview. “It’s just very different now. It’s not to the extreme. There’s no suicidal ideation. That is not where I am anymore.”
Washington previously opened up about her condition in an interview with Essence and shared the “shame” she felt about it.
“I’d eat anything and everything…sometimes until I passed out,’ she told the magazine in 2020. “But then, because I had this personality that was driven toward perfectionism, I would tell people I was at the library, but instead go to the gym and exercise for hours and hours and hours.
“Keeping my behavior a secret was painful and isolating. There was a lot of guilt and a lot of shame.”
The mom of three added that she sought help by starting therapy “which I still do today.”
“Learning how to love myself and my body is a lifelong process,” she said. “But I definitely don’t struggle the way I used to.
“Therapy helped me realize that maybe it’s okay for me to communicate my feelings. Instead of literally stuffing them down with food, maybe it’s okay for me to express myself.”
Kerry Washington, along with her husband Nnamdi Asomugha, is a parent to two children and a stepmother to Asomugha’s teenage daughter from a previous relationship.
KanyiDaily recalls that in 2016, Kerry Washington and Nnamdi Asomugha became the proud parents of a baby boy named Caleb Kelechi Asomugha.