Nothing was off-limits when Kerry Washington decided to write her memoir, Thicker Than Water. “I deserve to live fully in my truth,” says the actress, 46, who reveals she was sexually abused as a child by a peer, suffered from paralyzing anxiety and panic attacks at age 7, had a same-sex relationship, battled an eating disorder and had an abortion.

Perhaps her most shocking admission is that when she was an adult and was about to appear on Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s hit celebrity genealogy show, Finding Your Roots — which required a DNA test — her parents revealed they had used an anonymous sperm donor to conceive her. Kerry says the news turned “my world upside down,” but ultimately her parents’ honesty brought them all closer. “

For years, Kerry hid all of these secrets,” a source tells In Touch, “so to write this book now is very freeing and cathartic. It’s also very brave of her. She went there. She’s clearly in a much better place today, but she stays vigilant, because old thinking has a way of creeping back in. That’s why she’s still in therapy.”

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