The South African actress, now 44, was a teenager when her father, Charles Theron, drunkenly threatened her and her mother, Gerda, with a gun in 1991. He fired the weapon three times, miraculously missing his wife and daughter.
“My father was so drunk that he shouldn’t have been able to walk when he came into the house with a gun,” the Bombshell star recalled to NPR.
“My mum 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,” Theron continued. “None of the bullets ever hit us, which is just a miracle.”
Taking no chances, Gerda grabbed her own handgun and killed her now-late husband. She faced no charges, as the shooting was ruled as self-defence.
Theron – who is now mum to adopted kids Jackson and August – said she was “not ashamed” to discuss her past because of the awareness it brings to domestic violence.
“This family violence, this kind of violence that happens within the family, is something that I share with a lot of people,” Theron said. “I’m not ashamed to talk about it because I do think that the more we talk about these things, the more we realise we are not alone in any of it.
“I think, for me, it’s just always been that this story is about growing up with addicts and what that does to a person.”
The Academy Award-winning actress explained that her father was a lifelong alcoholic, which led to a “hopeless situation” at home.
“Our family was just kind of stuck in it,” she explained. “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.”
This article originally appeared on the NY Post and was reproduced with permission