Charlize Theron has said she is "not ashamed" to talk about her mother shooting and killing her father in self-defence, saying that casting a light on family violence makes people realise "we are not alone in any of it".

The Hollywood actress was 15 when her alcoholic dad arrived home drunk and shot through the door of the room where she was hiding with her mum. 

Speaking about what happened next, Theron told NPR:" My father was so drunk that he shouldn't have been able to walk when he came into the house with a gun. My mom and I were in my bedroom leaning against the door, because he was trying to push through the door.

"So both of us were leaning against the door from the inside to have him not be able to push through. He took a step back and just shot through the door three times.

"None of those bullets ever hit us, which is just a miracle. But in self-defence, she ended the threat."

Theron, who grew up on on a farm near Johannesburg in South Africa with her mum Gerda and dad Charles, continued: "This family violence, this kind of violence that happens within the family, is something that I share with a lot of people.

"I'm not ashamed to talk about it, because I do think that the more we talk about these things, the more we realize we are not alone in any of it.

"I think, for me, it's just always been that this story really is about growing up with addicts and what that does to a person."

The actress described her father as "a very sick man" and said growing up living with an alcoholic was "a pretty hopeless situation".

"The day-to-day unpredictability of living with an addict is the thing that you sit with and have kind of embedded in your body for the rest of your life, more than just this one event of what happened one night," she said. 

"I think our family was an incredibly unhealthy one. And all of it, I think, scarred us in a way. Of course, I wish what happened that night would have never happened. It's unfortunately what happens when you don't get to the root of these issues."

Theron will next be seen on the big screen playing former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly in the drama Bombshell.