Charlize Theron opens up again about her traumatic childhood

Charlize Theron and her mother, Gerda

Charlize Theron is known for her hard-as-nail roles in movies such as Mad Max and her most recent movie – Atomic Blonde, but the 41-year-old South African actress is also made of stern stuff off the silver screen.

Theron has been relatively open about her childhood, where she witnessed and suffered under her parents’ turbulent relationship. Her alcoholic father was physically abusive to her mother, Gerda, and verbally abusive to her as a child. This culminated in one traumatic event when her mother killed her father to stop him from harming the family. In a 2004 interview with Diane Sawyer, she spoke publicly about how her father returned home, drunk, when she was only 15. He fired his gun into her bedroom, and Charlize’s mother shot him dead to stop him. The court agreed with her explanation that it was in self-defense.

Now, the actress has spoken out further on the incident, discussing how her teenage self dealt with the insurmountable horror she had witnessed. While promoting her newest film, Atomic Blonde, she spoke to Howard Stern in a radio interview about her past.

She told Stern that it took her a long time to deal with the death of her father:

I just pretended like 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.

It was partly her fear of other’s reactions that kept her from speaking freely of the tragedy. “They don’t know how to respond to that,” she said. “And I didn’t want to feel like a victim. I struggled with that for many years until I actually started therapy.”

And she learned that although the killing itself was traumatic, it was actually the daily stress and fear of living with an alcoholic, abusive father that made more of an impact on her,

I think what more affected me for my adult life that happened in my childhood was more the every day living of a child living in the house with an alcoholic and waking up not knowing what was going to happen. And not knowing how my day was going to go and all of it dependent on somebody else and whether he was not going to drink or drink.’

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Transcendent Media Capital 

At Transcendent Media Capital, our mission is to  tell high-quality, social and environmental impact stories for international distribution that deliver returns to our stakeholders whilst making a positive difference in the world. Our vision is to create a safe place where people like Charlize Theron, can use story-telling to heal conflict and contribute to productive problem-solving globally.

Our domestic violence campaign Free Yourself Global  hopes to bring together all of the voices of the participants of domestic violence, including recovering abusers, victims, children, educators, support agencies and health professionals, law enforcement agencies, politicians, celebrities and social entrepreneurs who work to aid in this cause. It is in this aim that “Free Yourself” inspires us.  This campaign explores the enculturation of violence through families over generations, and how does one, whether the abuser or the abused, interrupt the pattern of violence? This for-profit campaign will contribute over half the proceeds directly to our affiliate organizations combating this pandemic and supporting victims and recovering abusers. We also aim to connect these groups to share resources, tools, ideas, and collaborate. 

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