Charlize Theron's dreams were always bigger than becoming someone's bride.
In fact, the star of Universal Pictures' A Million Ways to Die in the West says her "life is really good" despite never tying the knot. Still, the actress tells Esquire U.K.'s July issue, "I'm sure some people would be like, 'I would never want to have that life.'" Theron adds, "I'm sure there's a lot of aspects to my life that a lot of people wouldn't want." What aspects? "Just personal choice things," she tells the magazine. "Like the fact that I'm single at 38. That's not necessarily what a lot of women want."
But Theron is not single—she's dating Sean Penn.
"I mean unmarried," she clarifies. "But I'm just saying, a life is good if it's the life that you want."
"I am living my life in a way that if tomorrow it ended–and I hope not because I have a kid–but if it did, this was the life that I really wanted to live," the Oscar winner explains. "But I work at that, you know?"
While getting married was never high on her to-do list, starting a family was. In 2012, shortly after she ended her long-term relationship with Irish actor Stuart Townsend, Theron adopted a son, Jackson.
Did Theron's desire to have kids factor into her split with Townsend? "It's not the reason we split up," she explains. "In his defense, it was not that he didn't want to have children—it was just something that never worked out." As soon as Jackson came into her life, she says, "I was like, 'Ah, finally!'"
Theron's current romance, on the other hand, was not pre-planned. "I wasn't in any place that I even wanted something like [a boyfriend]," she says. "Then one day you go, 'Oh, [Jackson's] almost 2 now, and he has his little activities that he goes to and he's got a bedtime now, and you have more time again.' And it's like if you are open to something, if you just let it happen, it will happen. When you least expect it." In summary, Theron says, "It was nice to be single and now it's nice to be not single."
Terry Richardson photographed Theron for Esquire U.K. The full interview appears in the magazine's July 2014 issue, on sale June 5. It will also be available as a digital edition.
(E! and Universal Pictures are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)