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Actress Charlize Theron details the harrowing night her mother fatally shot her father in self-defense


'I think our family was an incredibly unhealthy one.'

Photo by Jason Mendez/WireImage

In an interview with NPR, actress Charlize Theron says that she isn't afraid of openly discussing the night that her mother shot her father in self-defense.

What are the details?

The incident reportedly took place at their home near Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1991 when Charles Theron drunkenly threatened the award-winning actress, who was 15 at the time, and her mother, Gerda Theron.

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

Theron, 44, said that they both tried — in vain — to stop Charles from making his way into the room.

“[B]oth 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," she revealed. "None of the bullets ever hit us, which is just a miracle."

Theron said her mother took matters into her own hands and fatally shot Charles.

“[I]n self-defense, she ended the threat," the actress said.

No charges were ever brought against Gerda Theron.

The actress talks about family violence

Theron says it's important to be outspoken about family violence and she isn't ashamed of discussing the ordeal.

“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," she continued. “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."

Theron said her father was a lifelong alcoholic and a "very sick man."

“I only knew him one way, and that was as an alcoholic," she admitted. “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."

The actress explained that her family circumstances were clearly unhealthy, but that the end result wasn't terribly unexpected.

“I think our family was an incredibly unhealthy one. And all of it, I think, scarred us in a way," she 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."

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