Charlize Theron Speaks Out About Her Father's Addiction Battle

By Desiree Bowie 07/24/17

"He could be very serious but loved to laugh as well, and enjoyed life. He also had a disease. He was an alcoholic."

Charlize Theron

During a recent interview with Howard Stern, Academy Award-winning actress Charlize Theron got candid about witnessing her father's battle with alcoholism throughout her childhood, and the tragic night that would change her life forever. 

The Atomic Blonde actress, who grew up in South Africa, told Stern about the effect the unpredictable nature of her father's disease had on her.

"I think what more affected me for my adult life that happened in my childhood was more the everyday [life] of a child living in the house with an alcoholic and waking up not knowing what was going to happen," she said. "And not knowing how my day was going to go and all of it dependent on somebody else and whether he was not going to drink or [not].”

Back in 2008, Theron decided to go public about her troubled childhood in an interview with Diane Sawyer. "My dad was a big guy, tall, skinny legs, big belly," she told Sawyer. "[He] could be very serious but loved to laugh as well, and enjoyed life. He also had a disease. He was an alcoholic."

Theron's childhood domestic situation took a turn for the worse when she was 15, she told Sawyer. On June 21, 1991, Theron's aunt called their home to warn her mother that Theron's uncle and father were on their way and belligerently drunk. According to testimony, when Theron's father got to the house he began shooting at the locked gate outside before firing into the kitchen door. Outside of Theron's bedroom door, he proclaimed, "Tonight I'm going to kill you both with the shotgun," before shooting through her bedroom door.

Her mother grabbed a gun and shot at the two men to protect herself and her daughter. Theron's uncle was wounded and her father was immediately killed.

About the incident, the 41-year-old actress, who is now the mother of two children, said, "I know that if my daughter was in the same situation, I would do the same thing."

Theron admits that the fatal incident involving her father left her in a state of shock. “I just pretended like it didn’t happen,” she told Stern. “I didn’t tell anybody—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.”

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Desiree Bowie is a writer and movie lover from Los Angeles, California. Follow her on Twitter @dangerbowie