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Kerry Washington opened up about the time she learned that she was conceived via a sperm donor.
“This was shocking to me. And also not … It made so much sense to me because there had been this sense … I felt like I didn’t know myself,” Washington, 46 — whose parents revealed the secret when she was in her 40s — said on the Monday, September 25 episode of the “On Purpose with Jay Shetty” podcast.
“I felt a disconnect to my parents and I felt a disconnect with myself. I never knew what to ascribe that to, I never knew why,” she continued. “Suddenly the pieces all fell into place. It was like there was this beautiful puzzle on the wall of our home that had this one wrong piece in it but it was close enough that everyone just pretended that the painting was perfect.”
Washington recalled being sat down by her parents, Earl and Valerie Washington, when she was in her early 40s to tell her that her dad was not her biological father. While her parents decided to be truthful with her, Kerry still doesn’t know the identity of her birth father.
“When my parents told me it was like somebody finally took that wrong puzzle piece that had been jammed into place and pulled it out and we all got to be honest,” she recalled. “And we don’t even know what the missing piece is because I don’t know who the donor is but at least now the painting is honest.”
While Kerry is curious to learn more about her birth father, it doesn’t change her relationship with the man who she considers to be her father.
“To my dad, I am his and he is mine and there’s no point in acknowledging any other truth … It doesn’t matter … He is my dad, he will always be my dad,” Kerry shared while noting that her father didn’t want to tell her the news. “There’s more complexity, there’s more nuance. … Yes, we belong to each other and there is this other figure that’s 50 percent of my genetics.”
As for why Kerry’s parents waited so long to tell her the truth, the Scandal alum revealed that her mom had planned on writing her a “note” and leaving it in a safe after she and her husband died. Kerry, for her part, was relieved that she didn’t discover the truth that way but also questioned when her mom was going to actually sit down and write the letter since she had already battled cancer.
After taking some time to process this new information, Kerry shared that she and her family are even closer now after having this “revelation.”
“Once I had this truth, I now have the opportunity to show my father what it feels like to be actually loved unconditionally,” she said. “From this point on every time I say ‘I love you’ it’s despite this truth that you thought was too horrible to bear … It felt like such an opportunity for healing.”