"My brothers really protected me," the actress said at a screening of The 5th Wave in Los Angeles

By Raha Lewis
Updated January 15, 2016 05:00 PM
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At 18, ChloëGrace Moretz has a lot to be thankful for, but it didn’t all come easy.

The 5th Wave star lived through her parents’ divorce as a child and watched her mother battle cancer when the actress was just 10. Today, she is grateful for her success and the confidence her family gave her as she struggled to grapple with it all while growing up.

“My brothers really protected me,” the actress told PEOPLE at a screening of The 5th Wave Thursday, of the more turbulent times in her life. “They had a great bubble around me growing up. They really held my hand through it all. Without them I wouldn’t really know who I would be right now.”

What she does know is how they helped shape her character. “They gave me the confidence and the power that I have now as a young woman,” she said said. “A large amount of the vocal ability I have, came from them telling me that, ‘You have a voice, you have the right to say and feel the way you feel.'”

Of course when it comes to how she feels about boys, it isn’t so straightforward. Dating with four older brothers is “a little difficult,” the actress joked. “They’re a little terrifying, but it’s good. I like that they show up and they’re like, ‘Yeah, go take my sister out, good luck!’ Keeps the guys on the edge of their seats.”

The actress who had previously spoken out about having a difficult time trusting may have turned a corner when it comes to dating. When asked what kind of qualities she would look for in a man, her well-thought-out list started with “adventure.”

“Someone who’s down to have a good time and run around and not really have any rules and regulations about things,” she said continuing on about the importance of spontaneity. “Really just try and keep it young and fun and understand that I’m going to be traveling nine months out of the year.”

As for the trust part, even though her father leaving her mother left Moretz feeling “betrayed by her bloodline”, she had some great friends that restored her faith in humanity. “That’s a huge deal to be able to have someone you can trust. It’s hard because you become set in your ways that you’re not the trusting one, because you’ve been messed over by the closest person in your life,” the actress said. “But the fact is, there are people out there that are trustworthy that do deserve your trust and aren’t going to mess you over. It takes a long time to realize that and to find those people, but they are out there.”

The 5th Wave opens Jan. 22.