American actress, Kerry Washington is opening up about her devastating ordeal with an eating disorder.
In a sit-down interview with Robin Roberts for a 20/20 special, Washington revealed how she contemplated suicide at the height of her disorder and was “trying to destroy myself.”
“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 Little Fires Everywhere 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.”
Nowadays, Washington says her relationship with food is “a lot healthier.”
“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.”
Washington and her husband, former NFL star Nnamdi Asomugha are parents to two children: daughter Isabelle, 8, and son Caleb, 6. She is also a stepmom to Asomugha’s teenage daughter from a previous relationship.