Why Charlize Theron Is ''Not Ashamed'' to Discuss the Night Her Mom Killed Her Dad Out of Self-Defense

Charlize Theron opens up about the night her mom killed her father in an act of self-defense and why it's important for her to share that story with others.

By Alyssa Morin Dec 16, 2019 9:29 PMTags
Charlize Theron, 2019 Glamour Women Of The Year AwardsDimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Glamour

Charlize Theron is a strong woman on and off the cameras.

The Oscar-winning actress is already making waves for her latest movie, Bombshell, which tells a poignant story about sexual harassment happening at Fox News. And while the 44-year-old icon is known for portraying fearless characters and taking on boundary-pushing roles, she recalls not always being that way.

Speaking to NPR in a very candid interview, Theron discussed growing up in an "unhealthy" family environment. If anything, she explains that an incident at home led to her mother killing her father in an act of self-defense, something the Bombshell star has shared before.

"My father was a very sick man. My father was an alcoholic all my life," the actress describes. "I only knew him one way, and that was as an alcoholic... It was a pretty hopeless situation. Our family was just kind of stuck in it. And the day-to-day unpredictability of living with an addict is the thing that you sit with and have embedded in your body for the rest of your life, more than just this one event of what happened one night."

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"I think our family was an incredibly unhealthy one. And all of it, I think, scarred us in a way. Of course, I wish what happened that night would have never happened," she continues. "It's, unfortunately, what happens when you don't get to the root of these issues."

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Of the incident, Theron explains that her father came home after a long night of drinking and things took a turn for the worst. 

"My father was so drunk that he shouldn't have been able to walk when he came into the house with a gun," she says. "My mom and I were in my bedroom leaning against the door, because he was trying to push through the door. So both of us were leaning against the door from the inside to have him not be able to push through. He took a step back and just shot through the door three times."

"None of those bullets ever hit us, which is just a miracle," she adds. "But in self-defense, she ended the threat."

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For the Oscar winner, she has no problem telling her story if it means helping others.

"This family violence, this kind of violence that happens within the family, is something that I share with a lot of people. I'm not ashamed to talk about it, because I do think that the more we talk about these things, the more we realize we are not alone in any of it," Charlize explains. "I think, for me, it's just always been that this story really is about growing up with addicts and what that does to a person."

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As a mother herself to two kids, the 44-year-old star feels blessed to have them in her life. However, as a single-parent, she hopes to live in a world where there's less stigma about it.

"Everything that I hoped would happen during my adoption process did happen because these two babies were meant to be in my life ," she says. "And they're my children."

"This concept of what a family looks like and what constitutes the 'right' family or a 'strong' family or what we think that should look like," she continues. "In a lot of places—and I think even for a lot of people and in America—it still feels very traditional in the sense that it should be that every child should have a mother and a father."

"We've kind of wrapped our heads slowly around the idea of two mothers and two fathers, but not so much around the idea of a single parent. It's just so unfortunate," she expresses. "I know so many people who would be incredible parents. My fight was a little bit easier because of my circumstances, but I would want that for all women who want to share their life and be part of raising another young, small child's life."

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