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Charlize Theron on the Night Her Mom Killed Her Dad

It was self-defense, and 'I'm not ashamed to talk about it'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2019 10:41 AM CST
Charlize Theron attends a screening of "Bombshell" at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Frederick P. Rose Hall on Monday in New York.   (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

(Newser) – Charlize Theron is "not ashamed" to talk about the moment her mother killed her father because "the more we talk about these things, the more we realize we are not alone in any of it." In a wide-ranging interview with NPR, the actress recalls when, as a 15-year-old, she and her mother leaned against a door in an effort to block her alcoholic dad. "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." Her mother, Gerda Maritz, then shot her husband with a handgun, and she was not charged, per the Guardian. "Of course, I wish what happened that night would have never happened," but "I'm not ashamed to talk about it," she says. "I think our family was an incredibly unhealthy one. And all of it, I think, scarred us in a way."

Growing up in South Africa in the apartheid era left its marks, too. As a white person, "my life was more comfortable because of the suffering of a lot of people who just by chance were born in the 'wrong' skin color," says Theron, 44, who was raised with the children of farm workers from various ethnicities. "I consider them my family" but "it's definitely something that we still need to work on, this concept of what a family looks like and what constitutes the 'right' family," says the single mom, who adopted two African-American children. "I cast a very wide net. … In whatever country they would allow me as a single woman to adopt, that's where I filed," she adds. And despite the "unfortunate" stigma surrounding single parents, "these two babies were meant to be in my life." (See why she has empathy for Megyn Kelly.)

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