The actress, 48, was just 15-years-old when her dad Charles Theron stormed into the family’s home near Johannesburg, South Africa and fired several times through a bedroom door with the actress and her mother Gerda on the other side.
Gerda grabbed her own handgun, opened fire in retaliation, and killed her husband in front of her traumatised teenage daughter.
Charlize fronts the cover of Town & Country’s November 2023 Tenth Annual Philanthropy issue and goes into detail about how the moment changed forever.
When asked if the harrowing moment spurred her to commitment to combating violence against women, the Hollywood star replies: ‘I would say this: It’s a simple correlation to make.
Harrowing: Charlize Theron reflects on the terrifying night her mother shot her drunk father dead in front of her in a rare interview
Heartbreaking: Charlize fronts the cover of Town & Country’s November 2023 Tenth Annual Philanthropy issue and goes into detail about how the moment changed forever
Tragedy: The actress, 48, was just 15-years-old when her dad Charles Theron was killed by his desperate mother who shot him after he started firing bullets at the bathroom door
‘But I think it’s way more complicated than having just one night of trauma in your life.
‘With or without that, gender-based violence is so in your face in South Africa and globally. It’s hard to not be aware of these things just purely by being a woman.’
After an investigation, the 1991 shooting was legally adjudged to have been self-defense, and her mother did not face any charges.
Charlize adds growing up in South Africa at a time where the country was under apartheid and the devastating effect AIDS had on the community.
‘I was around 10 years old, and people around me were dying and scared. We now know that it was HIV and AIDS, but not a lot of people had that information then.
‘It left an impression on me from a young age that has always been hard to shake.’
‘Growing up in a country under apartheid and having AIDS come. Those things really, really marked me – I almost want to say more than just that one night in my life.’
After founding the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Program in 2007, Charlize launched the #TogetherForHer initiative to combat pandemic-era violence in Africa and globally, with the actress donating half a million dollars to get the project off the ground.
Tough childhood: Charlize said: ‘I think it’s way more complicated than having just one night of trauma in your life’
Gorgeous: For the shoot, Charlize cut an effortlessly demure figure. For the front cover she wore a sheer black Dior blouse, $21,100 Dior earrings and black trousers from Nili Lortan
Candid: Charlize pictured with mum Gerda at the 91st Annual Academy Awards on February 24, 2019 in Beverly Hills
Full story: Read in Town & Country’s November 2023 Tenth Annual Philanthropy
‘People were being asked to stay at home with their abusers. There was a femicide happening in South Africa, and nobody was really talking about it.’
For the shoot, Charlize cut an effortlessly demure figure. For the front cover she wore a sheer black Dior blouse, $21,100 Dior earrings and black trousers from Nili Lortan.
The actress also looked incredible in a $2,350 grey Fendi jumper and matching $2,250 skirt.
Charlize previously spoke about the harrowing moment her father was shot in front her in the desperate act of self defence.
”My father was a very sick man. My father was an alcoholic all my life. I only knew him one way, and that was as an alcoholic,’ she explained.
This family violence, this kind of violence that happens within the family, is something that I share with a lot of people,’ she said.
‘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 really is about growing up with addicts and what that does to a person.’
Charlize also confessed that she perceived her family dynamic as a youngster as a ‘hopeless situation.’
‘I think our family was an incredibly unhealthy one. And all of it, I think, scarred us in a way. 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.’
In the past Charlize has credited her mother with helping shape her into a strong and brave woman.
Read the full story in Town & Country’s November 2023 Tenth Annual Philanthropy issue – out now.