Charlize Theron had a rough childhood, one that saw her mother shoot her father when she was just 15. Here is what the famous actress thinks about her mother's action and how it has shaped her life.
Charlize Theron is famous for playing complex and tough women on the silver screen but what many don't know is that she is just as complicated in real life. This is, of course, with good reason.
Theron witnessed a lot of violence in her family while growing up, and even after she broke free of that, the talented woman had to navigate the waters of finding fame which was a hard feat for a woman as attractive as she is.
Despite it all, Theron rose to eagle heights with her talent, and she has remained in the air ever since. Now when she looks back at her past and what she went through, the actress has no hard feelings.
If anything, Theron was able to transform the pain from her trauma into an opportunity to help others. For example, she has been very candid about the sexual harassment she suffered at the hands of a director earlier in her career.
Theron was lucky enough to get away after getting touched suggestively, but it wreaked havoc on her psychologically. She felt terrible that she had been the one to apologize before running out on the director. She said about the encounter,
"I put a lot of blame on myself... that I didn't say all the right things, and that I didn't tell him to take a hike, and that I didn't do all of those things that we so want to believe we'll do in those situations."
It had not been rape, but it had achieved the same result, and the actress has used that experience to open minds to the existence of sexual molestation on smaller scales.
Another tragic event she has turned into an opportunity to enlighten others is what happened in her family when she was just a young girl of 15.
IT STARTED AND ENDED WITH HER FATHER
Theron was born in South Africa and was raised on a farm very close to Johannesburg by her father Charles and mother Gerda.
She described her father as a "very sick man" because of his love for the bottle, and it was the only way she ever saw him — an alcoholic first before anything else.
He also had his charms, but they quickly disappeared after a drink. The drinks often didn't stop until he was drunk, after which he would abuse his daughter and wife verbally.
According to Theron, it was never physical abuse; however, one day, he went overboard. Theron shared the details of what happened on the tragic night in an old NPR interview.
Her father had reportedly gotten so inebriated he should not have been able to remain on his two feet; however, that's what he did.
The late Charles walked into their house, and he did not do so empty-handed; he went in holding a gun. His wife and daughter hid in one bedroom and leaned against the door to prevent him from getting in.
The movie tells the story of a time when some female employees of Fox News came forward to point accusing fingers at the then-CEO.
The resistance only served to infuriate him further, so he took one step back and fired three shots through the door. Luckily, the bullets somehow managed to miss mother and daughter, but Gerda had taken enough. She ended the threat in self-defense to ensure their survival.
HOW THERON TOOK IT
Theron's father dying the way he did was a traumatic event, but it was not as terrible for her as living as a child in a house ruled by an alcoholic. The unpredictability affected her childhood, and the actress once revealed that the feeling stayed with her longer.
The period of her father's death was challenging for the family, and it took Theron some time to accept what happened. At first, she tried to pretend that it didn't happen.
"I didn't tell anybody — I didn't want to tell anybody. Whenever anybody asked me, I said my dad died in a car accident. Who wants to tell that story? Nobody wants to tell that story," Theron once told Howard Stern.
No charges were filed against Gerda, but the family did not go scot-free. The older woman had to live with her action, and her daughter had to live with knowing that her father had to die by her mother's hand.
Theron has credited her mother with giving her the strength and encouragement she needed to navigate the tragic emotions that raged in her.
According to Theron, her mother was thick-skinned about the sordid affair, and even though it hurt her, she decided it would not break her.
That same spirit is what Gerda's daughter imbibed, and even though, unlike her mother, she employs therapy, she has grown to become a woman she can be proud of.
Now a mother herself, Theron knows she would do the same thing her mother did to save her child if it came down to it.
NOT ASHAMED ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED
Even though it took her some time to come to terms with her life, Theron was able to turn the tragic incident into an opportunity to help others by talking more about it.
She once revealed to People that she is not ashamed to talk about it because "the more we talk about these things, the more we realize we are not alone in any of it."
Whether it be her violent encounter at 15 or the sexual harassment she endured as a young woman, Theron knows the best way to get proper justice is by creating awareness about it.
Perhaps it was what was on her mind when she accepted the role of a real TV presenter called Megyn Kelly in the film "Bombshell."
The movie tells the story of a time when some female employees of Fox News came forward to point accusingfingers at the then-CEO and chairman Roger Ailes for sexual harassment.
According to Theron, the movie explores the "grey area of sexual harassment" — something she once experienced herself.
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