Kerry Washington Tried To Return Money From Book Proposal When She Discovered Truth About Her Biological Father

The ‘Scandal’ star’s memoir, ‘Thicker Than Water,’ was published in 2023

<p>Jojo Korsh/; Little, Brown Spark</p> Kerry Washington and her book

Jojo Korsh/; Little, Brown Spark

Kerry Washington and her book 'Thicker Than Water'

Kerry Washington revealed that she almost didn’t accept money from her book proposal after learning an outstanding family secret.

While in conversation with Erika D. Smith on April 20 at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, the Scandal actress, 47, opened up about the experience of learning that her father, Earl, was not biologically related to her right as she was set to sell her memoir Thicker Than Water.

“I found out that my dad who raised me is not my biological father,” Washington said. “And it was something that my parents had intended to not tell me ever, but they were kind of forced into telling me."

<p>John Salangsang/Shutterstock</p> Kerry Washington at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

John Salangsang/Shutterstock

Kerry Washington at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

"I felt like if I was going to write about myself, I had to write about these deeper truths," the actress continued. "I had to include this much bigger life-changing information.”

Washington said that she originally set out to write a book about the lessons she learned while playing her Scandal character, Olivia Pope. Once she learned the news about her father, she tried to get the money back from her book proposal.

“I tried to get the money back and everything, but eventually I decided to try to write that book even if it was just for myself and my kids and not to share with anybody else,” she said.

Related: The Biggest Bombshells from Kerry Washington's New Memoir: From Her Secret Wedding to a Heartbreaking Miscarriage

Thicker Than Water, which was published in 2023, saw the actress opening up about a number of personal moments throughout her life. Washington wrote of the panic attacks and sexual assault she experienced as a child, and of having an abortion

Speaking with Smith, the actress said that learning the truth about her father actually allowed for her and her parents to become closer.

<p>Mark Davis/Getty</p> Kerry Washington and her parents, Valerie Washington and Earl Washington at the 44th NAACP Image Awards

Mark Davis/Getty

Kerry Washington and her parents, Valerie Washington and Earl Washington at the 44th NAACP Image Awards

“One of the first impulses that I had when they shared this information with me was to tell my dad how much I loved him and to tell him that nothing was going to change and that nothing would be different,” Washington said. “And that really felt like my deepest truth and it still is, and yet everything has changed.”

“My love for him…my love and my intimacy with my parents has deepened with this exchange of information because I think when we keep secrets, particularly family secrets, it's usually because we're so afraid that if that truth gets revealed that we won't be lovable anymore, that we won't be loved, that there will be resentment and anger about whatever it is the secret was that was kept,” Washington continued. “And so I think once the weight of that secret got lifted, there was a lot more room for my parents and for me to be who we really are with each other.”

Related: Kerry Washington ‘Will Be There’ if Shonda Rhimes Makes a Scandal Movie

During the talk, Washington also touched upon some of the roles that she’s played throughout her career, including Mia Warren in the Hulu series Little Fires Everywhere. The show, which also starred Reese Witherspoon, is based upon the 2017 novel by Celeste Ng.

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“Reese sent me this book and I took on this character, and that was such a gift because [of] what I was able to do with that character,” Washington said. “She will always hold a very, very special place in my heart.”

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