Charlize Theron reveals the impact that gaining 50lbs had on her mental health
Charlize Theron is among actors like Christian Bale and Jake Gyllenhaal known for seriously dedicating themselves to roles by undergoing impressive body transformations. For 2003's Monster, Charlize played serial killer Aileen Wuornos, and to fit the look of the real-life character, she put on 30 pounds (14kg), wore prosthetic teeth and shaved off her eyebrows.
Since then, she's resumed her usual blonde bombshell looks, most recently starring in Atomic Blonde as a sexy secret agent in Berlin during the Cold War.
But less than a year after the release of Atomic Blonde, it appears that the 42-year-old has undergone a huge body transformation again for a film due to come out on May 4th. She stars as the lead character in Tully, a story about an overweight mother-of-three who has become uninspired with life.
Charlize has revealed that she gained 50 pounds for the role (23kg) and that the significant weight gain had a detrimental effect on her mental health. She describes how she was forcing herself to eat macaroni and cheese in the middle of the night in order to maintain the weight and said that the months and months of eating junk food took its toll on her emotionally.
"I wanted to feel what this woman felt, and I think that was a way for me to get closer to her and get into that mindset," she told Entertainment Tonight about why she committed to the extreme weight gain. However, she wasn't prepared for the consequences that eating unhealthily would have on her body in a mental sense, too.
"You know, it was a huge surprise to me," she said. "I got hit in the face pretty hard with depression. Yeah, for the first time in my life I was eating so much processed foods and I drank way too much sugar. I was not that fun to be around on this film."
She revealed that she needed to eat constantly throughout the day in order to keep on the weight, sometimes eating In-N-Out burgers with milkshakes for breakfast. Who would be complaining about that, right? That's what Charlize thought too.
"The first three weeks are always fun because you're just like a kid in a candy store," she recalled. "And then after three weeks, it's not fun anymore. Like, all of a sudden you’re just done eating that amount and then it becomes a job."
"I remember having to set my alarm in the middle of the night in order to just maintain [the weight].
"I would wake up and I would just eat it … I would just, like, shove it in my throat. It’s hard to maintain that weight."
The mother-of-two said that her kids, six-year-old Jackson two-year-old and August were confused with her sudden weight gain, with her youngest "convinced that I had a baby in my belly".
After filming was finished, it was a gruelling process to lose the weight as well. She admitted it took a year and a half and that it was "hell".
"I was worried. I was like, this is taking a really long time," she said. "Because on Monster, I just didn't snack for five days and I was fine. You know your body at 27 is a little different than your body at 43, and my doctor made sure to make me very aware of that. Like, you are 42, calm down, you’re not dying, all good."
With dedication like that, it's no wonder she's an Oscar-winning actress.