Charlize Theron broke her vow never to discuss her late father's death when she returned to her native South Africa in March (08) and met with children orphaned by AIDS.
When she was just 15, the actress watched her mother shoot dead her abusive dad in self defence.
Theron, now 32, has always refused to discuss the incident - but opened up to the kids she encountered at a mobile Aids testing and counselling clinic she helped to fund in Kwazulu-Natal.
She explains, "These kids deal with death every day. Many of them do not have one or both parents, and I thought (talking about my father) was a way for me to say, 'Whether you have one parent or zero parents, you can turn that negative into a positive.'"
And she explains she has turned the tragic experience into a positive lesson: "My father had a horrible disease. He was an alcoholic. I could have been one of those adults who go through life not taking responsibility and saying, 'I didn't have a (good) example (of a father).' But actually, I had the best example. I had the example of what not to do. It was up to me to choose a life and to live that life."