South African actress Charlize Theron has linked the violent death of her father to her successful acting career because witnessing tragedy at a young age inspired her to make the most of her life.
Contactmusic.com reports that Theron was 15 when she saw her mother, Gerda, shooting her alcoholic and abusive father, Charles, dead in self-defence.
The actress, who won an Academy Award in 2004, admits the incident will stay with her for life but also had a positive affect by giving her the motivation to become successful.
"I don't know how to say this without sounding strange. (I have) had many painful journeys and heartbreaks since my father died, many of which I draw on for my work," she said.
"But I feel like having this tragedy at such a young age has given me a leg up from other people. Because, from 16, I knew the value of life and I knew how quickly it could be taken away. And from that moment on, I made a choice to either swim or to drown," she added.