The action actress  Charlize Theron’s life story is different than others, she born to fight.

She is a South African born American actress who is praised for her well rounded acting potential. Best known for her Oscar win for Best Actress in the movie Monster, where she performs as a real-life serial killer. And as of 2019, she is one of the world’s highest-paid actresses. We’re talking about none other than the phenomenal Charlize Theron. 

Early Life: Childhood

Charlize Theron_with mother
Charlize Theron_with mother
Source: Instagram

Charlize Theron was born on 7th August 1975 in Johannesburg, South Africa, and is of Afrikaner descent. Her ancestry includes Dutch, French, and German. She is from the early Huguenot settlers in South Africa. Her parents are Gerda Theron and Charles Theron. Her childhood was on a farm outside the city.

Charlize Theron’s early struggle life 

As a child, Charlize witnessed the death of her alcoholic father. On 21st June 1991, her father was physically attacking her mother while drunk. He was firing a gun at both of them. Charlize recounts the story saying, “ My mom and I were in my bedroom leaning against the door because he was trying to push through the door. Charlize’s mother had shot her husband with her shotgun, in order to save their lives.

The actress has been very vocal about sharing her violent experience with people. She is not the least bit ashamed to share her story as it gives people an idea of how it is to grow up with an addict and how it can affect a person.

Fortunately for her mother, she was legally adjudged as acting out of self-defense and faced no charges.

Charlize Theron’s Education 

Theron went to Putfontein Primary School, and she faced difficulty fitting in. She suffered from jaundice quite frequently and had to take antibiotics. This caused her upper incisor milk teeth to rot and be removed surgically. 

When she was 13, she was sent to boarding school at the National School of the Arts in Johannesburg.

Theron got educated as a ballet dancer and danced for both “Swan Lake” and “The Nutcracker.” 

However, her potential to shine as a dancer in South Africa was limited. So she decided to travel to Europe and the States.

At the age of 16, she won a one-year modeling contract and moved to Milan with her mother. And she spent a year modeling across Europe before moving to the USA. Theron attended the Joffrey Ballet School in New York. There she trained as a ballet dancer until she injured her knee one day. This put off all her dreams to make a career out of dancing and led her into major depression. 

Her mother, worried, came to her from South Africa and told her, “ Either you figure out what to do next or you come home because you can sulk in South Africa.”

And from here begins her slow but steady journey into her career in acting.

So let’s look into her initial days as a  young artist.

Charlize Theron’s struggle with Career And Achievements

After flying to Los Angeles in 1994 with a one-way ticket bought by her mother, she tried to get into the film industry. She lived in a motel, and only had $300 every month to live on. 

Her luck had changed when she went to the bank one day to cash her cheques. She started to plead and argue with the bank teller when her cheque got rejected as she was not an American citizen. This was when she was noticed by the talent agent John Crosby who was standing right behind her. He cashed the cheque for her and gave her his business card.

Crosby got her into an acting school, and she got her first-ever film role in the horror movie  Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest. Although a nonspeaking role, it was nonetheless a start. The following year she had her first speaking role as the hitwoman on 2 days in the valley. 

Regardless of how the movie fared, Theron had grabbed attention with her beauty. 

When Theron was auditioning for Showgirls, she got introduced to talent agent J.J Harris. She had so much faith in Theron, that it surprised her. She helped her find scripts and movies in different genres and encouraged her to become a producer. She remained as Theron’s agent for well over 15 years until her death.

Charlize Theron’s  breakthrough film 

Towards the end of the 90s, her career had exponentially grown. She starred in the 1997 horror film The Devil’s Advocate. This is considered to be her breakthrough film. She starred alongside Al Pacino and Keanu Reeves, as the wife of a successful lawyer. She then went on to star in films like Mighty Joe Young, The Cider House Rules, through 98-99. She made it to the cover of Vanity Fair in Jan 1999 as the White Hot Venus. Some of her nudes made it to the Playboy magazines. These were from her shoots as a model year back before she entered the film industry. As the photos were used without her knowledge or consent, she sued the magazine but was unsuccessful.

Theron continued to take on roles in various movies. Most obtained limited commercial success, like the movies Reindeer Games, The Yards, Men of Honor, Trapped among others. Her steady presence on the screen definitely helped in establishing herself as an actress.   

Career changed forever

Charlize Theron
Charlize Theron_Awards, Source: Social Media

At this point in her career, in the early 2000s, she had directors supporting her but not many studios backed her.

Soon, she starred in the successful heist film The Italian Job in 2003, which was an American remake of the British film going by the same name. It grossed $176 million at the US box office.

Then came the movie Monster where Theron remarkably portrayed the serial killer Aileen Wuornos, a former sex worker executed in Florida for killing 6 men. Theron’s phenomenal performance  was noted by the critic Roger Ebert as ” one of the greatest performances in the history of cinema.”

Charlize Theron went on to bag the 76th Academy Awards for Best Actress in this role in 2004, along with the Screen Actors Guild Award and the Golden Globe Award for her extraordinary portrayal of the character. This also makes her the first South African actress to win an Oscar for Best Actress.

The movie brought in fame and money like no other, she ranked 7th as the highest-paid actress in Hollywood, earning as much as $10 million for a film. Making her one of the most desirable women in 2003 according to AskMen

Among the myriad of awards, Charlize garnered the Golden Globe Awards and Primetime Emmy Award nominations, for the 2004 film The Life And Death Of Peter Sellers. 

In 2005, she starred in the Fox television series Arrested Development, a science fiction thriller Aeon Flux, and voiceover for the Aeon Flux game. For which she won a Spike Video Game Award too.  

The critically acclaimed drama North Country in 2005, Charlize portrayed a single mother who experienced sexual harassment as a worker. Her performance here got her the nominations for  Best Actress in the Academy  Award and Golden  Globe Award. She received a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame the same year. 

By the year 2008, she had signed on to many more films, like the likes Burning Plain with Jennifer Lawrence and Hancock with Will Smith. The latter movie made $624.3 million worldwide. Theron was asked to be a UN Messenger of Peace by the Secretary-General the same year.

It is evident that Charlize Theron by now was a leading prominent actress in the industry.   She continued to work and star in more successful films. 

Such as Snow White and the Huntsman (2012), Prometheus (2012), Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), Atomic Blonde (2017), Tully (2018), and the biographical drama portraying  Megyn Kelly Bombshell (2019). The lattermost also got her third Academy Award nomination

 Forbes ranked her as the 9th highest-paid actor in the world in 2019, with an annual income of $23 million.

From her latest endeavors, Theron produced and starred in The Old Guard for Netflix. Her next reprise will be seen in the film F9,  which was set to release in 2020 but delayed to 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

She is also an animal rights supporter and appeared in a PETA ad for an anti-fur campaign.

She is famously quoted to have said, ” If you wouldn’t wear your dog, please don’t wear any fur.”  and ” Fur isn’t necessary. 

Needless to say, with her net worth at $130 million, she to date has an outstanding career and on-screen presence. You must now be curious to know about her personal life and relationships. Well, don’t worry, as we’ve got you covered!   

Personal life 

Charlize Theron
Charlize Theron: Jackson and August
Source: Instagram

Charlize became a United States citizen in 2007, soon after she became a Hollywood star. And retains her South African citizenship. 

She is living in Los Angeles near the now-demolished bank where she had first met Crosby.

Theron has adopted two children, Jackson in 2012 and August in 2015.

She has always been interested to adopt as the overcrowded orphanages had always been a reason for concern to her from a very young age.

Theron let the public know in 2019 that her 7-year-old child Jackson is a transgender girl. She believes they get to be whoever they wish and that it isn’t for her to decide. 

In the year 2018, she admits that she had gone for therapy due to her unexplained anger. She found out from her sessions that it culminated from the frustration she had growing up during the apartheid regime in South Africa.


Charlize was involved with Stephan Jenkins for 3 years. They broke up in 2001. On the set of the film Trapped, she met the Irish actor Stuart Townsend, and they began a relationship in 2002. They lived together in Los Angeles and Ireland. Their affair ended in 2010.

Then in 2013, Charlize began dating the famous American actor Sean Penn. They were rumored to be engaged too in 2014. Their relationship ended in 2015.

Interesting Facts

Charlize has used hypnotherapy to help her quit smoking.

She admits that she admires Tom Hanks and has always watched his movies growing up.

She has OCD. If she is renting a house or a hotel during a shoot, she can’t relax until she has looked in every closet, locker, and drawer in the premises.


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