Reason One: She overcame an incredible personal tragedy
An event that left a deep mark on Theron’s early life – and one that is highly associated with the 41-year-old Oscar winner, since she made a point of being very upfront about it in the media – was the death of her father Charles. Theron’s mother, Gerda, shot and killed her father, a violent alcoholic, in self-defense. Theron was 15 years old at the time.
“I just pretended like it didn’t happen,” Theron told Howerd Stern in a recent interview. “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.”
She reveals that going to therapy in her late 20s and early 30s was she began coming to terms with her father’s death, as she didn’t want to feel “like a victim.” Therapy aided Theron in understanding how her alcoholic father’s unpredictable actions impacted her life and, in a sense, shaped her as an adult.
Theron turned to her mother for support.
“I have an incredible mother. She’s a huge inspiration in my life…Her philosophy was, ‘This is horrible. Acknowledge that this is horrible. Now make a choice. Will this define you? Are you going to sink or are you going to swim?’ That was it,” she admits.