Kerry Washington: “There Was A Lot Of Toxicity In My Life”

(Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

We’re convinced that when When Kerry Washington says “It’s handled,” she’s not just referring to a crisis on ABC’s hit show, Scandal. She’s talking about her own life.

We’ve watched her in various films like Ray, Save the Last Dance (my personal favorite) and Django Unchained where she displays her versatility, and now she dominated Thursday nights for years as Olivia Pope, by making history as the first African American female lead for a network in over 40 years.

“The life of an artist is always up and down,” Kerry said in an interview with Forbes. “And I’ve had moments in my career where I’ve been a part of extremely high profile projects like Ray, and quieter, more different years maybe, where I’ve decided to focus on Broadway or other projects. I think sometimes artists are afraid to take those risks, to really go in new directions creatively because you don’t know if the people in your life will stand by you professionally.”

In fact, before all of the allocades from Scandal, there was a point in Washington’s life that wasn’t always “handled.”

“There was a point before scandal that I call the wilderness,” Washington says to Oprah on a special Super Soul Sunday. “For me, what that meant was, there was a lot of toxicity in my life. Some people I needed to let go of personally and in a professional way. Plus, I thought I was living my career in autopilot.”

During this “wilderness time” she took a break from anything movies or TV and did a broadway play for a year. During that time, Kerry explains that she lost agents and friends in the industry, but it all turned out good for her in the end.

“So being in the wilderness got me ready as an artist, as a woman and as a businesswoman, to receive Scandal.”

What makes Kerry even more fascinating is that while many people adore her, you don’t know much about her personal life, and she plans on keeping it that way.

“I learned through experience that it doesn’t work for me to talk about my personal life. I’ve had earlier times in my career when I did talk about it,” the actress told InStyle. “But I couldn’t just turn around and say, ‘I only want to talk about the good stuff, but not the bad stuff.’ So I just thought, Ok, no more.”

(photo credit: kerry washington Instagram)

While Kerry may not say much about her personal life, the Bronx native is not afraid to speak out for social justice. Kerry served the Obama Administration as a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts & Humanities. With everything that’s going on in our country right now, Kerry remains hopeful.

“I choose to feel optimistic, because I don’t think I could get out of bed if I didn’t,” she shares. “The key will be…