When she adopted her son, Jackson, on her own in 2012, Charlize Theron looked to her own mom for Solo Mom inspiration. “My mom has made it possible for me to be who I am,” Theron told British Vogue in 2012. In 1991, when Theron was just 15, her mother shot and killed Theron’s alcoholic father when he physically attacked them. She then moved with Theron to Italy and New York City as Theron pursued a career—first as a dancer, then as a model, and, eventually, as an actor. “Her greatest skill was encouraging me to find my own person and my own independence,” said Theron.
When it came to becoming a mom herself, Theron said she always knew she would adopt, though she didn’t envision doing it by herself. “I don’t think any mother aims to be a single mom,” she told Australia’s Madison. “I didn’t wish for that, but it happened.” However, as she told Ellen DeGeneres, her two dogs keep her from feeling like a Solo Mom. “People keep saying, ‘Oh, you’re a single mom,’ and I’m like, ‘Actually, I’m not. I’ve got two boys helping me out.’”
In 2015, Theron’s family grew when she adopted daughter August. “[I hope] to be like my mom,” Theron has said. “Fair, tough, and supportive. Our family is everything.”
Theron’s career, which has included incredibly diverse roles in films such as Monster, is also thriving. In Monster, the actress’s portrayal of serial killer Aileen Wuornos earned her an Academy Award for Best Actress. She went on to depict a miner fighting sexual harassment in the 2005 drama North Country (for which she was nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award) and has drawn attention for her roles in 2012’s Prometheus and 2017’s The Fate of the Furious. Most recently, she portrayed top-level spy Lorraine Broughton in the action spy thriller Atomic Blonde, which is based on the graphic novel The Coldest City, and she has two movies slated for release in 2018: Theron plays shrewd businesswoman Elaine Markinson in Australian director Nash Edgerton’s dark comedy Gringo, coming out in March, and in April, look for her in Tully—the latest from director Jason Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody—in which she plays Marlo, a mom who’s just given birth to her third child. “It’s a razor-sharp movie about the trials of motherhood,” according to IndieWire.
You can hear her talking with Howard Stern about her life and Atomic Blonde below.
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