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Charlize Theron Recalls The Moment Her Mother Killed Her Father In Self-Defense

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Dec. 17 2019, Updated 1:13 p.m. ET

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Charlize Theron opened up about the night her alcoholic father, Charles, threatened her and her mother, Gerda, with a gun. The threat led to Gerda shooting and killing Charlize's dad in self-defense.

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“My father was so drunk that he shouldn’t have been able to walk when he came into the house with a gun,” Charlize, 44, told NPR on December 16.  The incident occurred in June 1991 when the South African actress was just 15 years old.

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She continued, “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 the bullets ever hit us, which is just a miracle.”

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Gerda made the decision to shoot her husband in order to protect herself and her daughter. The act was ruled as self-defense and Charlize's mother was never charged.

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“This family violence, this kind of violence that happens within the family, is something that I share with a lot of people,” the South African star revealed. “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.”

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Charlize said her dad was an alcoholic throughout most of her childhood. “It was a pretty hopeless situation. Our family was just kind of stuck in it,” she revealed.

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The Bombshell actress added, “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.”

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“I think our family was an incredibly unhealthy one,” the mom-of-two 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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