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Kerry Washington's toxic life

Kerry Washington's toxic life

Kerry Washington says there was "a lot of toxicity" in her life before she joined 'Scandal'.

The 39-year-old actress felt like she had been "living my career kind of on auto-pilot" until a break away helped her refocus her thoughts and prepare her to take on the Shonda Rhimes-led project.

She said: "There was a lot of toxicity in my life - people I needed to let go of in a personal way, in a business way. And, also, I felt like I had been living my career kind of on auto-pilot. There was a period before 'Scandal' when I went into the wilderness. I took a break and did a Broadway play. I went back to my roots as an artist.

"Going into the wilderness really meant stripping myself of a lot of unnecessary weight in my life. The ritual of doing theatre, I thought of it as going into a monastery, because you do the same thing eight times a week, in the same place, you say the same words with the same props. It is a ritual that you commit to. I just wanted to, in a monk-like way, commit to that ritual and let it teach me about myself and let myself unfold.

"I let go of a lot of people and a lot of things. I experienced a lot of loss, professionally. I had, for example, companies that I was working with on an endorsement level that walked away from me because ... not everybody thinks Broadway is sexy."

And the 'Django Unchained' actress - who has two-year-old Isabelle with her husband Nnamdi Asomugha and is expecting her second child - says the time away helped her to "allow herself to be open to change".

Speaking on Oprah's SuperSoul Sessions, she added: "My personal life changed a great deal. I allowed myself to be open to change ... I don't talk about my personal life very often, but that's true.

"Going into the wilderness made me ready - as an artist, as a person, as a businesswoman - to receive 'Scandal.'"