Kerry Washington's 3 Kids: Everything She's Said About Parenting

Kerry Washington has three children: daughter Isabelle, son Caleb and a stepdaughter

Kerry Washington arrives to the 54th Annual NAACP Image Awards at Pasadena Civic Auditorium on February 25, 2023 in Pasadena, California
Photo: Aaron J. Thornton/Getty

Though Kerry Washington stays extremely tight-lipped about her family, the actress is a mom of three.

Washington and her husband, former NFL star Nnamdi Asomugha, welcomed their first child together, daughter Isabelle, in 2014, and their second child, son Caleb, two years later. The Scandal star is also stepmom to Asomugha's teenage daughter from a previous relationship.

While she's active on social media, Washington has never shared a photo of her kids and she rarely gives any information about them. In fact, she's never even shared her stepdaughter's name.

In an interview with Essence, Washington explained that she keeps her family life private because "one always has to make the choices that feel right to you." She explained, "It's hard for me to speak to what the impact of my choices are, because, again, I feel like I don't know," she said. "One day if my kids so choose to be interviewed, they would be better to answer that question than I would because their journey is theirs, you know?"

When speaking to InStyle in 2020, Washington said that while she's "really, really vigilant" about keeping her kids out of the spotlight, she doesn't necessarily want to keep them hidden. "These are their lives. But it's not about pulling a Rapunzel and hiding them away in a castle from the world — we don't want to do that. I think any parent would want to keep kids from a situation that causes them to feel scared. I don't want them to be exploited, particularly in this social media world."

That said, she does sometimes feel like she wants to share her kids with the world. In an interview on Sunday Today, Washington said, "I have moments where I take pictures or videos of one of my three amazing kids and I wanna post it online, and I tend to just send it to my parents or my shrink instead. I'm like, 'My kids are so cute and I don't wanna post about them, so look how cute they are!' "

One thing is clear, though: Washington loves being a mom. "The thing that has changed the most about me since I became a mom is that my heart keeps getting bigger and bigger," she told Entertainment Tonight.

Here's everything Kerry Washington has said about raising her three kids.

Isabelle Amarachi Asomugha, 9

Washington and Asomugha welcomed their first child together, daughter Isabelle Amarachi, on April 21, 2014. Her name was inspired by Washington's great-grandmother.

Not long after giving birth to Isabelle, Washington told PEOPLE that motherhood "just made my life better in every way."

While Washington was starring in the hit ABC drama Scandal, a young Isabelle would accompany her Emmy-nominated mother to set. "I'm really blessed because my daughter gets to be at work with me a lot so that's really fun and wonderful," she told Entertainment Tonight in 2015. "Everybody at work really likes it. She brings a lot of joy wherever she is so it's fun to have her around."

In 2016, Washington told PEOPLE that Isabelle "hangs out in the hair and makeup trailer a lot." She added of her daughter, "She loves a good fan brush because it feels so fun."

But the actress has been candid about how her own appearance can affect her kids. In an October 2017 interview with Allure, she revealed that she opts to keep her hair natural for that reason. "I like to wear my natural texture, especially now because I have children and I want them to know that their hair is perfect as it is," she said. "They don't have to change it or straighten it. They can, but they don't have to."

Washington has also called Isabelle her "teacher." During a conversation with Oprah Winfrey for an episode of her podcast SuperSoul Conversations, per HuffPost, the Little Fires Everywhere actress said, "I do think of myself as more of an ambassador for her to the world. I'm not her headmistress." When asked how Isabelle had impacted her, Washington replied, "She's my teacher."

In February 2022, Washington spoke about being a "girl mom" — and how it makes her "want to do more and better" for her children. "I do think being a 'girl mom' makes you think about these issues in a different way," she said at Time's Women of the Year gala. "They just make me want to do more and better and be there for them."

Caleb Kelechi Asomugha, 6

Washington and her husband welcomed their second child together, son Caleb Kelechi, on Oct. 5, 2016.

The actress announced her pregnancy just a few months prior by debuting her baby bump at the 2016 Met Gala. She told PEOPLE that it only happened that way because she knew she "wouldn't be able to hide" the bump. "I hadn't been public about it [before then]. I still haven't made a statement about it because it's not really how we roll in my family," she added.

Seven months after Caleb's birth, Washington spoke to Net-a-Porter's magazine The Edit about being a working mom. "I can be covered in spit-up on a conference call while I'm pumping and that's okay, because this is my perfect," she said. "It may not be somebody else's, but this is mine."

As her kids have grown, Washington and her family have followed an active lifestyle. "I love to work out," she told Allure in October 2017. "It's really important to me; it's part of the culture of my family. My husband was a professional athlete, so we hike, we swim."

She also told InStyle that her love of swimming was passed down to her kids, saying, "My husband teased me that if I did the 23andMe, it would come back 11% mermaid. My kids are the same way. They're just fish."

Kerry Washington's Teenage Stepdaughter

In October 2018, Washington surprised fans when she appeared on Today and corrected Craig Melvin when he referred to her as "a mother of two." She clarified, "I am a mother of three," referring to Asamugha's daughter from a previous relationship, who was 12 years old at the time.

While Washington has kept her children's lives private, the star has discussed how she approaches topics of racism and Black history with her kids. During a 2020 appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Washington talked about Black Lives Matter and how she has those conversations at home, saying she wants there to be more of an emphasis on Black history beyond just civil rights hardship.

"It's really important that we start to introduce the idea of race with a Black history that begins before teaching kids about what Black people were told they couldn't do," she said. "Black history and Black people were a lot of things before segregation and Jim Crow and the civil rights movement."

She keeps her kids educated about politics, too. In November 2020, after the presidential election, Washington told PEOPLE that she celebrated Joe Biden's win with her family. "I was hanging out with my family, and it was actually raining here," she said. "My kids and I, [as soon as we heard the news], we went out and danced in the rain. We were splashing around in puddles and just enjoying it." She even said they celebrated with a treat for breakfast: "We told them they could have ice cream. They were like, 'We get ice cream!' And I was like "And also democracy!' "

Washington has talked about how her acting roles have affected her thoughts on being a parent. She once revealed that playing Olivia Pope in Scandal helped prepare her for motherhood. "Playing her made me feel like I could be a mom," she told Elle in 2016. "Because she knows there's always another way — there's always a way to fix it, there's always a way to solve it, to win. And I feel like playing her made me feel like, All right, I can do it. I will figure out how to juggle it all."

And in an interview for Today, Washington said that she drew on her personal experience as a mother for her role as Kendra in the Broadway play American Son. "Parenting is a lot about letting go and how you can do that with grace and ease and empower your kids to make the right choices," she said. "It is an adventure. And obviously doing that as a parent of African-American kids has particular challenges."

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