In a recent appearance on the Howard Stern Show, actress Charlize Theron opened up about a dark time in her life, namely when her mother fatally shot her alcoholic father after he threatened them with a shotgun inside their home.
“I just pretended like it didn’t happen… I didn’t tell anybody,” said the star of shoot-em up action movie Atomic Blonde about living with the memory. “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.”
Although Theron’s mother, Gerda, acted in self-defense when she shot her husband four times in 1991, the incident left Theron, who was 15 years old at the time, traumatized. Afterward, Theron said she spent years just sort of wandering through Europe as a “gypsy.” It wasn’t until she was in her late 20s that she sought therapy.
“I didn’t want to feel like a victim. I struggled with that for many years,” the 41-year-old said, adding that her mother was a “huge inspiration” and helped her move forward.
“Her philosophy was: This is horrible. Acknowledge that this is horrible. Now make a choice. Will this define you? Are you going to sink or are you going to swim?” Theron said of her mother.
Note: Theron discusses the incident during the 31-minute mark