Violent Childhood Home: Charlize Theron Beat The Odds


Charlize Theron is a stunning actress who has won many awards, including both an Oscar and a Golden Globe for her starring role in Monster.

She had a real monster in her early life, and that was her father.

Theron grew up on her parents’ farm near Johannesburg, South Africa. She remembers her father, Charles, as a man who liked to laugh, but also as an alcoholic who regularly became abusive toward his family. When drunk, he would spew insults and threats at his daughter, and become physical with his wife, Gerda.

It was an extremely troubled marriage, but in that time and place, divorce was not an option for Gerda.

On the night of June 21, 1991, when Theron was 15 years old and home on a visit from boarding school, the long brewing crisis came to a violent end.

An aunt called Gerda to warn her that Charles and his brother were on their way back to the farm. Both of the men were drunk and agitated.

When Charles arrived, he shot the locks off the gate and then fired more shots through the kitchen door. According to official testimony, he then proceeded to Theron’s bedroom, where he banged on the door shouting “Tonight I’m going to kill you both with the shotgun.”

He fired his gun again, right into the bedroom.

Gerda wasn’t going to watch her daughter die.

She grabbed her own handgun and fired at the men, hitting both Charles and his brother.

According to Theron’s statement to the police, after hearing those gunshots she asked her mom “What happened?”

Gerda answered, “Charlize, I shot them … I shot them.”

Theron’s mother had just killed her father.

It was traumatic and life changing, but Theron was there on that frightening night, and she knew her mother had no choice. She has said that she would do exactly the same thing if her own daughter were in danger.

Devastated Gerda, who was not charged on the basis of self-defense, insisted that Theron return to school the next week. She did not want this terrible event to prevent her daughter from continuing forward with her life.

Continue forward she did, landing a modeling contract the very next year.

She and Gerda moved to Italy and she spent a year modeling throughout Europe. Afterward she spent time in Miami and in New York City.

Theron thought of herself as a primarily a dancer, so in New York she studied ballet at the internationally renowned Joffrey Ballet School. When her knees gave out, she sank into a depression.

Gerda flew in from South Africa and told her to either find another goal or come home.

Theron was only 19 when her mother bought her a one-way ticket to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. She visited many agents over the next few months without any luck.

When a Hollywood Boulevard bank teller refused to cash an out-of-state check from her mother, Theron had a loud argument with him.   She was finally noticed by a talent agent, who was another customer at the bank, and he gave her his card. He advised that she would be able to get parts if she learned to speak English better. Theron’s first language is Dutch-based Afrikaans.

She mastered spoken English over the next few weeks by watching television soap operas, and soon her career took off.

Though Theron doesn’t dwell on the past, she has said that the dreadful night in 1991 left a permanent scar on her heart. She’s spoken out publicly against the danger of firearms in the home, reminding listeners that terrible things can happen if guns are easily accessible when people get drunk or emotional.

It is a situation the actress knows about all too well, but she hasn’t let that limit her on the way to fame.

Charlize Theron is one celebrity who beat the odds.

Click here to read the full list of celebrities who Beat The Odds on their way to success.

Watch this clip to see Charlize Theron at her evilest as the wicked Queen Ravenna in Snow White & The Huntsman: