Charlize Theron's mother Gerda killed her father, Charles, in self-defense in 1991

By Alexia Fernandez
December 16, 2019 07:31 PM
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Charlize Theron is opening up about the night her mother killed her father in self-defense.

The Bombshell actress, 44, spoke to NPR about her father Charles Theron drunkenly threatening her and her mother, Gerda, on a night in June 1991 when the star was 15.

“My father was so drunk that he shouldn’t have been able to walk when he came into the house with a gun,” Charlize said. “My mom and I were in my bedroom leaning against the door because he was trying to push through the door.”

She continued, “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 the bullets ever hit us, which is just a miracle,” Charlize added.

To save her daughter and herself, Gerda shot her husband.

“But in self-defense, she ended the threat,” the actress said, that is why no charges were brought against Gerda.

Gerda and Charlize Theron

The moment left an impact on the Oscar-winner who said, “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,” she added. “I think, for me, it’s just always been that this story is about growing up with addicts and what that does to a person.”

Charlize described her father as a “very sick man,” saying he “was an alcoholic all my life.”

“I only knew him one way, and that was as an alcoholic,” she said. “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 kind of 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,” the actress said. “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.”

Charlize hasn’t shied away from discussing the circumstances of her father’s death or her mother’s involvement in the past.

In October 2018, Charlize credited Gerda with making her strong, telling Extra at Elle‘s 2018 Women in Hollywood event, “I am lucky enough that I had a great mom who really kind of made me brave and always told me to be brave.”

“I don’t know who I might have been without that,” she added.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.