Charlize Theron is an Oscar-winning actress named by Time magazine as one of the “Most 100 Influential People in the World” in 2016. Theron played the leading lady in the 1990s film The Devil’s Advocate, although true cri*me buffs likely recognize her as serial ki*ller Aileen Wournos in the 2003 movie, Monster.

Theron knew a real-life monster and she called him dad.

Born in Benoni, South Africa to Gerda (née Maritz) and Charles Theron, Charlize grew up on the family farm in the Transvaal Province.

Charles, Charlize, Gerda

Charles Shoots at Charlize & Greda

On June 21, 1991, Charles, who was an alcoholic, threatened a teenage Charlize and her mother during a drunken rampage. He stood outside their bedroom door with his brother and another man, screaming “I’m going to ki*ll you all.”

Gerda and Charlize leaned up against the door, fearful that Charles would hurt them. And then it happened. Charles shot his handgun into the bedroom. Luckily, the shot missed both women, but Charles would not be as lucky.

Gerda retrieved a handgun from her nightstand and began firing back at Charles, hitting and ki*lling him. Gerda also struck Charles’ brother as she fired, but he survived.

Gerda was not charged with a c*rime since the shooting was adjudged to have been self-defense.

Charlize stood by her mom, saying that her father was a very sick man and knew that her mother shot him to protect hers. She told reporters that her dad was an alcoholic all her life; that’s all she knew of him.

She went on to say that she is not ashamed of what happened in her life or on that tragic night and uses it to help other people in similar situations.

“This family violence, this kind of violence that happens within the family, is something that I share with a lot of people. 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 is about growing up with addicts and what that does to a person.”

Life Goes On

Two years later, Gerda and Charlize relocated to the U.S. In 1994, Charlize moved to Los Angeles where she resided in a motel with a $300-weekly budget, sometimes living paycheck to paycheck and stealing bread to eat.

Her big acting break would come after John Crosby, a talent agent, stood in line behind her at a bank. The bank refused to cash the check, but Crosby graciously did so and have Theron his business card.

She played her first acting role in Children of the Corn in 1995.

Charlize and her mom have grown closer over the years, currently residing 5-minutes from one another in Los Angeles. They also share matching fish tattoos.

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