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Kerry Washington recalls the 'shocking' moment she learned her dad is not her biological father

She opened up about the life-changing event while discussing her new memoir, “Thicker Than Water,” on TODAY with Hoda & Jenna Sept. 26.
/ Source: TODAY

Kerry Washington is opening up about how she learned that her dad is not her biological father.

In an interview with TODAY's Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager, Washington said that after she wrapped the show "Scandal," she was already wondering what she would do next.

"I was already saying, like, 'Who am I? What will I do next? What is my purpose?'" she during a TODAY with Hoda & Jenna interview that aired Sept. 26.

She said her parents asked her to come home to visit because they had something important to tell her. This came after she’d announced to her family her intention to appear on “Finding Your Roots,” a show that features celebrities learning about their family history through DNA testing, which she mentions in her new memoir titled “Thicker Than Water.”

"And I went (to them)... and my parents told me that my dad is not my biological father," she said on TODAY with Hoda & Jenna. "That I was born from a sperm donor."

She said the announcement had been "shocking" for her but somehow, on some level, she felt she'd always known.

"It was shocking, but there was also something strangely familiar," she recalled. "There was like a confirmation."

BET's Black Girls Rock 2012 - Show
Kerry Washington and her parents, Valerie and Earl Washington, at BET's Black Girls Rock 2012 on Oct. 13, 2012, in New York City. Bryan Bedder / Getty Images for BET

She said the revelation had been like a "call to adventure" for her.

"It felt like 'Well, this is a really exciting opportunity for me to learn more about who I am and who I want to be and to also make sense of my life,'" she said.

Washington added that writing her memoir, "Thicker Than Water," which is out now, was “healing.”

"That's part of what was really healing about writing the memoir, is I got to look back at my life and say, 'Oh, with this new information, I kind of understand it all now,' but I wanted to write my way through that," she said.

The book title is a play on the phrase "blood is thicker than water," she confirmed, explaining that water has been the "through-line" for her family.

"As I started to write, the imagery of water kept coming up again and again," she said, citing a neighborhood pool where she spent her summers growing up and an upstate New York cabin her parents owned near a lake.

 "It's just a really important element in the culture of our family," she said.