Kerry Washington Shares She Contemplated Suicide Amid Eating Disorder Battle

Kerry Washington spoke out about dealing with eating disorders and her current relationship with food, ahead of the release of her memoir.

By Corinne Heller Sep 21, 2023 8:15 PMTags
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Warning: this article features mentions of suicide.

Kerry Washington is opening up about a devastating time in her life.

The Scandal alum reflects on her past struggles with an eating disorder in college in her upcoming memoir Thicker Than Water, explaining how compulsive exercise and binge eating ultimately consumed her everyday life.

"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."

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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."

Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

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's memoir, Thicker Than Water, is set for release Sept. 26.

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