Although she’s one of the most respected and decorated actresses in Hollywood, Charlize Theron’s career hasn’t been without its hiccups. She’s feuded with costars, witnessed the murder of a family member, and, seriously, what the heck happened between her and Sean Penn?
1.Her relationship with Sean Penn was bizarre
Given Penn’s rather notorious history of rocky relationships, Theron raised a few eyebrows when she first shacked up with the two-time Oscar-winning actor at the end of 2013. Despite the odds, the couple moved forward, albeit at a fairly rapid place, sparking rumors as early as June 2014 that they were planning to wed and adopt a child from Africa.
That, of course, never happened. However, the engagement rumors continued through the end of the year, and reports alleged that Penn popped the question to Theron in Paris that November, albeit without a ring. If that wasn’t fast enough for you: by February 2015, Penn was referring to Theron as the love of his life; a few months later, she was saying the same thing about him.
Of course, all of that sounds well and fine, until one remembers that, about a month and a half after Theron’s public declaration of love, their relationship came to a screeching, alarming halt.
What went wrong? Well, this is when things get even weirder…
2.Did she ghost him?
Because of their relationship’s abrupt ending, the tabloids worked overtime to figure out what caused the split. Us Weekly claimed that Theron essentially ghosted Penn at the Cannes Film Festival in 2015. “Charlize wasn’t responding to his calls and texts,” a source told the magazine. “She just cut it off.”
The allegations created such a firestorm on the internet that even The New York Times chimed in with its own piece about ghosting.
When she finally broke her silence on the breakup, Theron claimed all those reports were just a bunch of hooey.
“When you leave a relationship there has to be some fking crazy story or some crazy drama. And the fking ghosting thing, like literally, I still don’t even know what it is,” Theron—who was forced to reshoot scenes for The Last Face (2016) with Penn six weeks after their breakup—told WSJ Magazine in March 2016.
“It’s just its own beast. We were in a relationship and then it didn’t work anymore. And we both decided to separate.
That’s it.” Incidentally, the interviewer made a point of noting that Theron broke down in tears while speaking about her breakup, making “that’s it” feel less finite and more mysterious.
Their awkward reunion at the Cannes Film Festival a few months later only made things worse.
3.She witnessed her mother kill her father
In 2004, while on the road to winning an Oscar for Monster, Theron opened up to Diane Sawyer of ABC News about a tragic incident in her family’s past. In 1991, her mother, Gerda, shot and killed her father after he allegedly came home from a night of drinking and threatened to kill them both with a shotgun.
Police ruled that Gerda, who also shot and wounded Theron’s uncle during the incident, acted in self-defense. Still, the tragic events inevitably changed the course of Theron’s relationship with her mother forever. In the days after the shooting, Gerda told Theron, who was just 15 at the time, to flee their home in South Africa and never look back. “For her to say go, go make something of your life, go, go do something—that was an extremely brave thing for her to do,” Theron told Sawyer. “Those are the sacrifices, you know, that I think you do for your children, and she always did that. She always put me first.”
Of the shootings themselves, Theron stood by her mother’s actions. “I know what happened,” she said. “And I know that if my daughter was in the same situation, I would do the same thing.”
4.She feuded with Tom Hardy
Theron has been more than open about the feud that erupted with co-star Tom Hardy on the set of the 2015 Oscar-winning thriller Mad Max: Fury Road, admitting to Esquire magazine in April 2015 that they “f**kin’ went at it” on set and “drove each other crazy.”
To be fair, she was also diplomatic about the reasons behind their feud, citing the harsh filming conditions as a likely catalyst. “I think we have respect for each other, and that’s the difference,” she added. “This is the kind of stuff that nobody wants to understand—there’s a real beauty to that kind of relationship.”
But to hear director George Miller describe their on-set relationship to WSJ Magazine about a year later, the road to “that kind of relationship” wasn’t exactly paved with understanding. “I’m not saying that they were seething right through, but the trajectory of the characters can’t help but seep into the work,” he said.
“When they first meet each other, they’re trying to kill each other. As the two characters come together out of necessity and rather reluctantly, they have to find a degree of trust. And to some extent that was the trajectory of their relationship as well.”
5.Her rivalry with Angelina Jolie runs deep
Theron’s Hollywood feuds allegedly extend to Angelina Jolie, as well. According to Radar, the tension supposedly stems from roles that the actresses have fought over, including remakes of Bride of Frankenstein (2019) and Murder on the Orient Express (2017).
“The hate fest between these two started a long time ago and just won’t stop,” a source told Radar.
“It’s as though directors are getting a buzz out of playing them against each other, by dangling a script to both of them then leaving them to b**ch and slug it out.”
6.She’s allegedly mean to people in her spin class
Memo to those who take SoulCycle spin classes with Theron: you probably shouldn’t approach her and say hello. Actress Tia Mowry allegedly learned this the hard way. “She wasn’t very nice to me,” Mowry told InTouch in 2014. “I said, ‘Hi,’ and she actually rolled her eyes and said, ‘Oh my God.'”
“I wasn’t over-the-top. I know how to approach another celebrity,” Mowry continued. “Charlize was just mean. I’m just being honest.”
Naturally, this led InTouch to investigate the matter, during which they uncovered that Theron had allegedly switched gyms but was still acting like a diva at her new location.
“She always arrives late to class with a scowl on her face and has the nerve to ask people who are already settled on their bikes to switch,” a source alleged. “She always causes a scene. People know to steer clear of her!”
7.She was sued for $20 million
In February 2007, Theron was slapped with a shocking $20 million lawsuit for breach of contract after she allegedly wore a watch by Christian Dior to an event while she was contractually obligated to exclusively wear watches designed by Swiss watchmaker Raymond Weil.
(Ah, Hollywood!) The lawsuit also claimed Theron wore a necklace for a charity ad after she allegedly agreed she “would not promote jewelry or watches,” according to The Associated Press (via People).
The lawsuit was finally settled in November 2008, though details were not released to the public, reported People.