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Charlize Theron says she's 'not ashamed' to talk about her mother killing her father

The "Bombshell" star said her father's alcoholism "scarred" her family and she wants others going through a similar situation to know they're not alone.
/ Source: TODAY

Charlize Theron is not afraid to talk about the darkest chapter of her life because she wants others going through a similar situation to feel like they're not alone.

The "Bombshell" star spoke with Terry Gross on NPR's "Fresh Air" Monday about the night in 1991 when her mother, Gerda Maritz, shot and killed her father, Charles Theron, in self-defense at their family's home in South Africa when Charlize was 15 years old.

Image: "Bombshell" New York Screening
Charlize Theron has opened up about not feeling ashamed to speak about the night her mother killed her father in self defense. John Lamparski / Getty Images

"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. I think, for me, it's just always been that this story really is about growing up with addicts and what that does to a person."

Theron has spoken at length about that terrifying night in previous years, including in a 2017 interview with Sirius radio host Howard Stern in which she said she often told others her father died in a car accident because she didn't want to share the story.

Charles, who was an alcoholic, had come home drunk and carrying a gun, which he fired through a door at Charlize and her mother before Maritz retrieved a handgun and fatally shot him in an incident that was ruled self-defense by authorities.

"My father was so drunk that he shouldn't have been able to walk when he came into the house with a gun,'' Theron said. "My mom and I were in my bedroom leaning against the door because he was trying to push through the door. 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 those bullets ever hit us, which is just a miracle. But in self-defense, she ended the threat."

Theron, 44, who is a mother of two children herself, opened up about how her father's alcoholism affected her while growing up.

"My father was a very sick man,'' she said. "My father was an alcoholic all my life. I only knew him one way, and that was as an alcoholic. ... It was a pretty hopeless situation. Our family was just kind of stuck in it."

Living as an only child under those conditions had lasting effects.

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