Charlize Theron is a mom to two daughters through adoption, and as it turns out, the actress knew she wanted to adopt when she was just a child herself. In an interview with Diane von Furstenberg in the season one finale of her podcast, InCharge With DVF, Charlize opened up about what led her to pursue adoption, what her daughters Jackson and August have taught her, and on the other side of the coin, what she's teaching her girls when it comes to relationships.
When asked how old she was when she knew she wanted to be a mother, Charlize told Diane that she was just 8 years old when the idea of adoption first spoke to her.
"I was connected to the idea of having a family through adoption when I was 8 years old."
"I'm an only child, I didn't have any siblings, and my mom has a letter that I wrote her when I was 8 years old," she said. "In the letter I ask her if we could, for Christmas, go to an orphanage to adopt a brother or sister for me. My mom, when I went through my first adoption, actually showed me the letter. I was connected to the idea of having a family through adoption when I was 8 years old. She's like: 'You never asked me to have another baby. You never asked me to have a little brother or sister for you. You just immediately went to adoption.' But I always knew that I wanted to be a mother always."
Charlize adopted her 8-year-old daughter Jackson in early 2012 and her 5-year-old daughter August in July 2015. Of the adoption process, the 44-year-old shared: "That whole process was incredibly empowering for me as a woman. The fact that I got to choose when I wanted to be a mom . . . There is a great power in choosing to be a mother and then doing it when your body, your mind, and everything is celebrating all of that. And I know that this is what I can handle."
Although Charlize knew from very early on that she wanted to be a mother, and then waited for the right timing to adopt her first child, there were still some surprises along the way.
"My children have completely reopened my eyes to the world and I jokingly always say I'm back at university."
"The thing that was really eye-opening to me was, my children kind of came to me in this unexpected way, where you know, I didn't know I was going to be the mom to two African American girls. I didn't know I was going to be the mom to an African American trans girl," she said. "All of these things have kind of made me more aware of how little I know. My children have completely reopened my eyes to the world and I jokingly always say I'm back at university. I'm back having to learn every single day because they challenge me in that way."
What Charlize does know, however, is that it's OK not to enter into relationships that don't serve you, even if it seems like what you "should" be doing. While in the car with her girls recently, Charlize shared that her 5-year-old proclaimed that her mom "needs a boyfriend," and the actress used this time to teach August that sometimes, the relationship you need most is the one you have with yourself.
In that moment, she responded to her daughter: "Actually I don't [need a boyfriend]. Right now, I feel really good." She continued, sharing that August had told her: "'You know what, Mom? You just need a boyfriend, you need a relationship!' And I was like: 'I am in a relationship. I'm in a relationship with myself right now.' And she had this look in her eye like she had never really contemplated that that was even a possibility . . . her mind was blown. But I know that was the day that she realized there's a different possibility."
Listen to the entire episode of InCharge With DVF featuring Charlize below.