Kerry Washington Says Playing Olivia Pope Gave Her Courage To Have Kids

March 14, 2018  |  


Olivia Pope doesn’t exactly strike us as the maternal type. In fact, when given the chance to have a baby, she opted out because she knew the circumstances weren’t right. So it might surprise you that Pope inspired the woman who brought her to life, Kerry Washington, to have children of her own.

As the series finale for “Scandal” is quickly approaching, Washington spoke to Entertainment Tonight’s Nischelle Turner about how playing this career-defining character changed her.

“The thing that’s really fun for me about saying goodbye to a character is they kind of live in you. There will be things that Olivia Pope has given me that always stay with me. She’s changed me.”

Washington said Pope made her believe she could do anything.

“I don’t know if I would have had kids at this point in my life if she didn’t make me feel like anything is possible.”

Washington shares two children with her husband Nnamdi Asomugha, 3-year-old daughter Isabelle and 1-year-old son Caleb.

“I feel like she’s given me a lot of courage. So I’ll keep that courage,” Washington shared. “I’m going to have to say bye to the Prada purses but not goodbye to the courage and the courage is more important.”

Washington also spoke about hoping that “Scandal” changes the landscape of television for years to come.

“There is so much that has happened, a black woman being the lead on a network show, all of that is so important. But equally important is that this is a work environment where we have treated each other with a great deal of love and respect and I really want that to be part of our legacy,” she explained. “We have the opportunities to love and respect the people we work with and we all have worked so hard, so being in environments like that is so important.”

In saying goodbye to the cast and crew, Washington surprised them all with what she calls the “Scandal Survival Kit,” a series of gifts to help the team transition away from the groundbreaking show.

“It had work-out classes and sneakers and wine and food and books… it’s all the things you haven’t had a chance to do while we’ve been working. But I wanted to end with a mattress.”

“We work 16-hour days and sometimes some departments have eight-hour turnarounds, which means they’re sleeping five, six hours a night, and I just really feel like having a mattress is something you’re supposed to do for yourself but you don’t do it enough. I wanted to give that to our “Scandal” family.”

Hence the Tomorrow Sleep mattress.

As for Washington, the end of “Scandal” only means new opportunities for the 41-year-old actress.

“I’m so excited about projects I have in the works. I have a pilot at ABC that’s a comedy about women [called “Man Of the House”] and I have a show that I’m doing with Reese [Witherspoon],” Washington said, referring to the stars’ upcoming limited series Little Fires Everywhere for Hulu, which they will star in and serve as executive producers. “There are new opportunities to break new ground and that is my focus.”

We’ll certainly be on the lookout.

The “Scandal” series finale airs April 19 on ABC.


Veronica Wells is the culture editor at She is also the author of “Bettah Days” and the creator of the website NoSugarNoCreamMag. You can follow her on Facebook and on Instagram and Twitter @VDubShrug.

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