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Charlize Theron - Biography

Charlize is an Oscar-winning actress

Charlize Theron red lipstick smile
Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
Updated: June 21, 2023
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Charlize Theron's early life

Born on August 7, 1975, in the town of Benoni, Charlize Theron originally spoke Afrikaans and grew up on her parents' farm in Benoni, near Johannesburg. 

Her father, Charles, was an alcoholic and was physically abusive towards her mother, Gerda. One night, her father, belligerently drunk and armed with a gun, fired three shots at his wife and child. Miraculously, neither Charlize nor her mother were hit by the bullets, but in self-defense, Gerda got hold of a handgun and shot and killed him. Charges were never brought against her mother.

Charlize Theron's Hollywood career 

Charlize initially began her career as a model. After treading the catwalks of Milan and Paris, she found herself in New York, where she enrolled in the renowned Joffrey Ballet School. Her dreams of becoming a prima ballerina were cut short, however, by a knee injury.

She later turned to acting and her breakthrough role came in 1997 when she played Keanu Reeves' wife in The Devil's Advocate. The actress went on to appear in an array of Hollywood films, including 2003's Monster, in which she portrayed serial killer Aileen Wuornos - a role that won her an Academy Award for Best Actress.

Charlize has an impressive list of big-screen credits and has starred in blockbusters such as Mad Max: Fury Road,  Snow White and the Huntsman and Atomic Blonde. 

Charlize Theron's personal life 

Charlize's first public relationship was with fellow actor Craig Bierko. The pair dated for two years before calling it quits. The actress went on to date singer Stephan Jenkins for three years until October 2001. That year, she began a romance with Irish actor Stuart Townsend in 2001 after meeting him on the set of the crime thriller, Trapped. The couple went their separate ways in 2009. 

In late 2013, Charlize began dating actor Sean Penn. The couple dated for two years before the relationship ended in 2015.

The star has two daughters, Jackson, who she adopted in 2012, and August, who she adopted in 2015.

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