Kerry Washington says her husband has reminded her where she belongs.
During an appearance on TODAY with Hoda & Jenna Sept. 26, Washington said the revelation came after learning the man who raised her is not her biological father.
The first person she told the news to was her husband, Nnamdi Asomugha, a pro football player turned actor whom she married in 2013. They share two children together and she is stepmother to his teenage daughter.
"He was the first person that I told after my parents told me, and so I came home and realized that as disorienting as the news was — as confused and adrift as I felt knowing that my family wasn't who I thought we were — when I saw him, I knew who this family was," Washington said. "I knew that no matter what I was feeling with my parents, I belonged here."
The 46-year-old actor is notoriously private about her marriage with Asomugha, but shares intimate details about him and their relationship in her new memoir “Thicker Than Water,” out Tuesday.
Nnamdi Asomugha is a football pro-turned-actor
Asomugha lived a whole life before becoming a Hollywood actor and producer.
He played college football for the California Golden Bears and played in the NFL for 11 years for the Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco. He hung up his cleats in 2013.
As his football career winded down, Asomugha began appearing as a guest in some TV shows, such as "The Game" in 2008, "Friday Night Lights" in 2009, "Leverage" in 2010 and "Cubed" in 2011. His breakout role, though, came in 2020 with "Sylvie's Love," in which he starred alongside Tessa Thompson. The movie earned an Emmy nomination for outstanding television movie. His producing credits include "The Banker," and "Harriet."
The couple first met backstage at a Broadway show
Washington writes in her book that she met Asomugha while she was in her first Broadway play, "Race." She originated the role of Susan in 2009 and played her through June 2010 in the Barrymore Theatre.
They were both represented by CAA at the time, so the talent agency arranged for Asomugha to meet Washington and the cast backstage while he was in New York visiting friends and seeing shows.
They could have met earlier, though: "Later I would be reminded that although I’d never met Nnamdi before, he and I had cohosted a fundraiser in Northern California for Kamala Harris’s attorney general campaign," she writes in her book. "We had both been unable to attend the event but had lent our names in support of what I was certain would be a stellar political career."
"But that night at the Barrymore, we finally did meet, and I felt dizzied by the calm and pure authenticity of his presence. I still am."
They had a secret wedding
The couple worked hard to keep their 2013 wedding day out of the public eye, Washington writes in her memoir.
They had it at a friend's house, the wedding planner was under "strict confidentiality," verbal invitations went out "just prior" to the ceremony and the hired vendors thought the event they were servicing was a family reunion. Plus, the wedding dress designer told his team the gown was for "the Moroccan premiere of 'Scandal.'"
“For months I had been wearing my engagement ring secretly pinned inside my clothing for fear that if people knew we were engaged, it would be impossible to have a wedding away from public spectacle," she writes.
Instead, the privacy gave them space to have family members involved in every detail.
“We wanted the details of the day to reflect where we came from, who we were, and the future we hoped to build together.”
"As Nnamdi and I planned our wedding, we were aware that this singular day was not just a party but an opportunity to establish the culture of our marriage and our lives together," she writes. "We wanted the details of the day to reflect where we came from, who we were, and the future we hoped to build together."
Her cousin played the music that she walked down the aisle to, Nnamdi's cousin DJ'ed the reception and his sister officiated, his younger sister designed and made traditional Nigerian gowns and Washington's father walked her halfway down the aisle while she walked the rest of the way herself.
They 'try to be more open' when parenting
The couple welcomed two children together, Isabelle Amarachi, 9, and Caleb Kelechi, 6. Asomugha is also dad to a 17-year-old daughter, whom Washington has embraced as her own.
Washington, when referred to as “a mother of two“ on TODAY in 2018, corrected the record. “I am a mother of three,” she said.
Washington writes about feeling pressure to be perfect when she was growing up and in college. She told TODAY how that experience influences her approach to parenting with Asomugha.
"We just try to be more open. It was obviously very different conversations with our three kids," than with her and her parents, she said, later adding: "We meet them where they are by being lead with their questions."
Fostering a home of open dialogue is one way it works, she said.
"But even telling them about my paternity, it's a different conversation with a 17-year-old than a 6-year-old, but we want to let them know," she said. "I don't want them hearing things about our family in the playground that they're not hearing from us.
Washington learned that her biological father is a sperm donor and not the man who raised her after sharing with her parents that she agreed to appear on "Finding Your Roots." They were initially excited but later became unnerved when a DNA test was mentioned, Washington writes. Her parents later sat her down and told her about her paternity and none of them ended up doing the show.
After their conversation, Washington writes that she returned to her house where her husband was fiddling around in the closet.
"When he finally appeared, the sight of him was like a buoy, a lifesaving beacon of belonging, a desert island after decades adrift," she writes in the book.