Charlize Theron born 7 August 1975 is a South African and American actress and producer. She is the recipient of numerous accolades, including an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award. Time magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2016. As of 2019, she is one of the world’s highest-paid actresses.
Theron came to international prominence in the 1990s by playing the leading lady in the Hollywood films The Devil’s Advocate (1997), Mighty Joe Young (1998), and The Cider House Rules (1999). She received critical acclaim for her portrayal of serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster (2003), for which she won the Silver Bear and Academy Award for Best Actress, becoming the first South African to win an Oscar in an acting category. She received another Academy Award nomination for playing a sexually abused woman seeking justice in the drama North Country (2005).
Theron has since starred in several commercially successful action films, including Hancock (2008), Snow White and the Huntsman (2012), Prometheus (2012), Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), The Fate of the Furious (2017), and Atomic Blonde (2017). She also received praise for playing troubled women in Jason Reitman’s comedy-dramas Young Adult (2011) and Tully (2018), and for portraying Megyn Kelly in the biographical drama Bombshell (2019), receiving a third Academy Award nomination for the lattermost.
Since the early 2000s, Theron has ventured into film production with her company Denver and Delilah Productions. She has produced numerous films, in many of which she had a starring role, including The Burning Plain (2008), Dark Places (2015), and Long Shot (2019). Theron became an American citizen in 2007, while retaining her South African citizenship. She has been honored with a motion picture star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Theron was born in Benoni, in the then Transvaal Province (now Gauteng Province) of South Africa, the only child of road constructionists Gerda (born Maritz):16-18 and Charles Theron (27 November 1947 – 21 June 1991).:16-18, 34 Second Boer War military leader Danie Theron was her great-great-uncle.:14 She is from an Afrikaner family, and her ancestry includes Dutch as well as French and German; her French forebears were early Huguenot settlers in South Africa.:14 “Theron” is an Occitan surname (originally spelled Théron) pronounced in Afrikaans as [trɔn].
She grew up on her parents’ farm in Benoni, near Johannesburg. On 21 June 1991, Theron’s father, an alcoholic, threatened both teenaged Charlize and her mother while drunk, physically attacking her mother and firing a gun at both of them. Theron’s mother retrieved her own handgun, shot back and killed him. The shooting was legally adjudged to have been self-defense, and her mother faced no charges.
Theron attended Putfontein Primary School (Laerskool Putfontein), a period during which she has said she was not “fitting in”. She was frequently unwell with jaundice throughout childhood and the antibiotics she was administered made her upper incisor milk teeth rot (they had to be surgically removed) and teeth did not grow until she was roughly ten years old. At 13, Theron was sent to boarding school and began her studies at the National School of the Arts in Johannesburg. Although Theron is fluent in English, her first language is Afrikaans.
In 2007, Theron became a naturalized citizen of the United States, while retaining her South African citizenship. She lives in Los Angeles near the now-demolished bank where she met Crosby.
Theron has adopted two children: Jackson in March 2012 and August in July 2015. She had been interested in adoption throughout her life because of her concern about overly-full orphanages in her childhood. In April 2019, Theron revealed that her seven-year-old child Jackson is a transgender girl. She stated, “They were born who they are and exactly where in the world both of them get to find themselves as they grow up, and who they want to be, is not for me to decide”.
Acting inspirations include Susan Sarandon and Sigourney Weaver. She has described her admiration for Tom Hanks as a “love affair” and watched many of his movies throughout her youth. Hollywood actors were never featured in magazines in South Africa so she never knew how famous he was until she moved to the United States, which has been inferred as a factor to her “down-to-earth” attitude to fame. After filming for That Thing You Do! finished, Theron got Hanks’ autograph on her script. She later presented him with his Cecil B. DeMille Award in 2020, in which Hanks revealed that he had a mutual admiration for Theron’s career since the day he met her.
Theron revealed in 2018 that she went to therapy in her 30s because she had unexplained anger, discovering that it was due to her frustration growing up during South Africa’s apartheid, which ended when she was 15.
Theron was in a three-year relationship with singer Stephan Jenkins until October 2001. Some of Third Eye Blind’s third album, Out of the Vein, explores the emotions Jenkins experienced as a result of their breakup.
Theron began a relationship with Irish actor Stuart Townsend after meeting him on the set of the 2002 film Trapped. The couple lived together in Los Angeles and Ireland. Theron split from Townsend in January 2010.
In December 2013, Theron began dating American actor Sean Penn. The two were rumored to be engaged in December 2014. Theron ended their relationship in June 2015.
United Nations Messenger of Peace
Since 2008, Theron has been officially recognized as a United Nations Messenger of Peace.
Theron often quips that she has more injuries on sets that are not action films; however, while filming Æon Flux in Berlin, Theron suffered a herniated disc in her neck, caused by a fall while filming a series of back handsprings. It required her to wear a neck brace for a month. Her thumb ligament tore during The Old Guard when her thumb caught in another actor’s jacket during a fight scene, which required three operations and six months in a thumb brace. There were no major injuries during the filming of Atomic Blonde but she broke teeth from jaw clenching and had dental surgery to remove them: “I had the removal and I had to put a donor bone in there to heal until I came back, and then I had another surgery to put a metal screw in there.”
Outside of action movies, she had a herniated disk in her lower back as she filmed Tully and also suffered from a depression-like state, which she theorized was the result of the processed food she had to eat for her character’s post-natal body. In July 2009, she was diagnosed with a serious stomach virus, thought to be contracted while overseas. While filming The Road, Theron injured her vocal cords during the labor screaming scenes. On her first modeling job in Morocco, the camel she sat on smacked its head into her jaw, causing two dislocations. When promoting Long Shot, she revealed that she laughed so hard at Borat that her neck locked for five days. Then she added that on the set of Long Shot she “ended up in the ER” after knocking her head against a bench behind her when she was putting on knee pads.