Charlize Theron has opened up about the emotional impact her traumatic childhood has had on her life.
Her alcoholic father was physically abusive to her mother and verbally abusive to her as a child. When the actress was 15 years old her mother, Gerda, shot and killed her father, Charles, to prevent him from harming their family.
In a previous interview in 2004 Charlize recalled that her father had fired his gun into her room, and her mother shot him dead to stop him. Gerda was cleared in court as they ruled she had acted in "self defence."
Now, the star has spoken to radio host Howard Stern about how this emotional and traumatic incident impacted her life.
"I just pretended like it didn't happen," she admitted. "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."
"[People] don't know how to respond to that," she said. "And I didn't want to feel like a victim. I struggled with that for many years until I actually started therapy."
The actress went on to reveal she hadn't begun therapy until her late 20s or early 30s, meaning she had internally dealt with her pain for over a decade.
"I think what more affected me for my adult life that happened in my childhood was more the everyday [life] of a child living in the house with an alcoholic and waking up not knowing what was going to happen," she said. "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].”
"He also had a disease. He was an alcoholic," she continued, before saying "I know that if my daughter was in the same situation, I would do the same thing."
You can listen to the full interview below (skip to 31:28 for the discussion).
Warning: This post contains details of domestic abuse and violence. If you or someone you know is impacted by domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au.
This article originally appeared on InStyle.