Charlize Theron Opens up About the Night Her Mother Shot and Killed Her Father in Self Defense

When Charlize Theron was 15 years old, her mother, Gerda, shot and killed her father in self defense after he drunkenly threatened them. This week, Theron opened up about the terrifying night in a new interview with NPR, explaining that her father "was so drunk that he shouldn't have been able to walk when he came into the house with a gun."

"My mom and I were in my bedroom leaning against the door, because he was trying to push through the door," she recalled. "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. But in self-defense, she ended the threat."

charlize theron gerda
(Photo: Getty / Kevork Djansezian)

The Oscar winner added that growing up in South Africa, she had never known her father not to be an alcoholic, which led to an unpredictable upbringing.

"My father was a very sick man. My father was an alcoholic all my life. I only knew him one way, and that was as an alcoholic. ... It was a pretty hopeless situation," Theron shared. "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 kind of embedded in your body for the rest of your life, more than just this one event of what happened one night. 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. It's unfortunately what happens when you don't get to the root of these issues."

The Bombshell star has never shied away from speaking out about the situation and explained that she does so in order to help others realize that they are not alone.

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"This family violence, this kind of violence that happens within the family, is something that I share with a lot of people," she said. "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. 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."

Photo Credit: Getty / John Lamparski