“I had friends who wouldn’t let me come over for a sleepover”: Charlize Theron’s Traumatic Experience Growing Up in South Africa Will Break Her Fans’ Heart

Be it Hollywood’s most bankable star or a beloved fan favorite, almost every other renowned entity in show business is privy to grueling struggles and tormenting life experiences.

Sure, the glimmer of stardom paints their lives in a luminous glow of fame and privilege, but that doesn’t exempt them from hardships or render them invulnerable to tragedy; much like Charlize Theron, who, despite being one of the highest-paid actresses in the industry and the proud owner of numerous accolades, including an Oscar, has faced her fair share of demons growing up.

Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron And Her Agonizing Childhood

Perhaps known best for portraying the gritty gunslinger in George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road, Charlize Theron is one of the most revered actresses in the film industry.

With a career spanning nearly two decades, the Oscar winner has starred in numerous big studio hits including Hancock (2008), Prometheus (2012), Snow White and the Huntsman (2012), and even various Fast & Furious projects.

But for all her gilded success and commendable accomplishments, Theron has faced some rather harrowing experiences in life, ranging from a despairing childhood to abuse and the loss of a parent.

An actress of South African descent, Theron, 47, was born and brought up on her family farm in Benoni where she lived with her mother and an alcoholic father. Not only was she subjected to excruciating conditions at home, but she also found herself getting ostracized by her peers during the time of apartheid.

Charlize Theron and her parents

A young Charlize Theron with her parents

Growing up on a farm, the Bombshell actress mingled with people from different cultures who worked and resided on their property. And while she considered those workers to be a part of her family, Theron’s friends at the time were displeased by that. “I had friends whose father would be for apartheid and once they found out that black people lived on our farm wouldn’t let me come over for a sleepover,” she revealed in an old interview with NPR. “I was just incredibly blessed that I was raised … by a mother who was just aghast by all of this.”

Seeking Therapy Helped Her Out

Back when she was shunned by friends for being compassionate toward people from different races and cultures, Theron was too young and innocent to truly grasp the gravity of the situation.

It was years later during her mid-30s, when the Atomic Blonde star first sought therapy owing to a broken relationship, that she realized just how burdened she’d been by her childhood trauma.

And it was then that Theron unpacked all the weight she’d been carrying as a young girl who grew up in South Africa amid the horrors of apartheid.

Charlize Theron and her mother

Charlize Theron with her mother, Gerda Jacoba Aletta Maritz

“I didn’t really truly understand what any of this really did to me as a young child until I was in my mid-30s and I went to therapy for the first time, because of a relationship that was failing. And what I discovered while in therapy, trying to save my relationship, was that I had a lot of trauma from being a young child growing up in South Africa during the apartheid era.”

However, while therapy did her good for the most part, Theron admitted that the pain of going through such experiences wasn’t easy to shed and she might even carry it for the rest of her life. Hopefully, it’d be left as more of a dull memory than a brutal reminder as she goes on in life.

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