Charlize Theron is one the most recognizable faces in film. The South African-born American actress and producer has been in many of our favorite movies, like The Devil’s Advocate (1997), Mighty Joe Young (1998) and Monster (2003).
In the latter movie, Theron garnered critical acclaim for playing the role of serial killer Aileen Wuornos, who was convicted and sentenced to death by lethal injection for the murder of six men between 1989 and 1990. Wuornos, who was executed in 2002, maintained that all of the homicides were done in self-defense when the men she worked as a sex worker.
Theron won an Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award (SAG) among other accolades for her portrayal. Everyone was praising her faultless performance, but little did they know that Theron had her own story of abuse and violence that perhaps helped her play the role with extra conviction.
Although she doesn’t link her harrowing experience to her roles, Theron once said, “you’d be an idiot not to put it together...."
Twelve years prior to Monster, if things had gone the way Theron’s father wanted, she would never made it to Hollywood. In fact, she would’ve been dead a long time ago.
The actress grew up in a household where her alcoholic father, Charles, abused her mother, Gerda, and this took a heavy toll on her life, even after her success.
“I think what more affected me for my adult life that happened in my childhood was more the everyday living of a child living in the house with an alcoholic and waking up not knowing what was going to happen,” she told Howard Stern. “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.]”
Then came the fateful night in 1991 that forever altered life as she and her mother knew it., and shaped her into the strong-willed actress that we’re accustomed to seeing on the silver screen.
So what happened?