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tv   Piers Morgan Tonight  CNN  December 24, 2011 2:00am-3:00am PST

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it's been a pleasure talking to my colleagues from cnn. i hope you have enjoyed it. they will be gone to the next story. it's been a remarkable year. thanks for watching. tonight i sit down with one of the most beautiful women in the world, charlize theron. [ speaking foreign language ] >> wow, i didn't know you fancied me. a glamour girl, one of the sexiest women alive. she can tell a dirty joke and drink you under the table. >> i was raised by a broad. some of that rubbed off. >> went from a farm to hollywood stardom. tonight you'll see her as you never seen her before.
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>> that's very good. >> do you know how many times i dreamt of having a taco and beer with you? this is "piers morgan tonight." let's start with the obvious question, how do you actually pronounce your name? >> charlize theron. it's what i thought would be easiest for people. >> what is the african way of pronouncing it? >> charlize theron. >> i much prefer that. say it again. >> charlize theron. >> you were raised south african and came to l.a. with a broad accent. you quite consciously went and
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taught yourself how to speak in an american accent, right? >> yeah, i mean, look, i was pushed into a corner. i started going out on auditions. the feedback is she's great but can she do it in an american accent? my english was poor. i make a lot of grammar mistakes. my mother lives two minutes away. >> she speak african to her? >> yeah. >> speak african to me. >> well, i mean -- [ speaking foreign language ] >> wow, i didn't know you fancied me. that's amazing. that's incredible. you speak it fluently? >> i think more fluently than i speak english. >> well, miss theron, woody told w magazine charlize is not a
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delicate girl, talented and able to tell more vulgar jokes than you and able to drink you under the table. >> none of this -- >> truth as charged? >> there's no truth to it. >> i can't imagine you being vulgar. >> i'm not vulgar, i would not say that. i was raised by a broad and some of that rubbed off. i'm grateful for that. will smith one day said, what i like about you, chuck, is that you are like from the white house to the ghetto. i thought that was one of the best compliments given to me. >> that's a great phrase. >> i don't think -- >> he calls you chuck? >> yeah. >> it's getting ever more complicated. you are going to have to restate your name now.
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you can't have americans calling you chuck. they'll call everybody chuck if you give them a chance. >> i love working with woody and we did a film together that was a true story of this very important sexual class action sexual harassment case that took place in minnesota. it was heavy material and -- >> don't we all -- that's how we like it. you can play conventional pretty blond stuff until you are 108. actually -- >> no, actually you can't do that. that's why i chose this career. i want to work until i'm 108. i don't think you can have longevity if you fall back on one aspect. >> you choose challenging roles, they are always quite edgy and dangerous. you take risks. i like that about you. it's never safe.
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>> i don't think human beings are -- i think we are pretty complicated. i do think there's a lack of interest and willingness to explore the kind of not so attractive side of what it is to be a woman. the fact that we don't want to necessarily, as a society celebrate the fact we are complex and we are, you know, we are flawed. not all of us are perfect mothers and not all of us are perfect wives. we are complex. i felt that when monster came to me, the thing that was clear to me is it read like something de niro would get or a guy would play this conflicted character. few times in my career have i been given the opportunity of the female that represents the conflict and is evident in who we are. >> what flaws do you have? >> i have no flaws. i'm speaking of other women.
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i'm not talking about myself. i'm perfect. >> let's get you on the therapist couch. >> oh, god, what is this, an hour show? i think we need another few hours. the great thing about ageing has been the acknowledgement of my flaws. i think it's given me a sense of peace. so, so far, i'm loving the ageing process. that kind of wisdom of like, understanding why you sometimes do that crap that you do, behave -- >> do you really love the ageing process? >> so far, i said. i said so far. >> it's obviously treating you quite well. >> look, i'm only 35, my god. we're talking about this like i'm -- >> you mentioned the ageing process. >> i'm only 35. i consider that pretty young. >> you haven't spilled any flaws
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yet. >> if you have to, if you want to cover this. i suffer from a bit of ocd. >> i know about this. closets have to be perfect. >> i'm a bit compulsive. >> you stay awake at night worrying that someone's closet -- >> i have a thing about things that are hidden. yeah, i have a hard time when i'm renting a house, if i'm working on a film. i have to know what's in all the closets. this is so pathetic. i cannot believe we are talking about this. >> this is weird. this is great. you get to random houses and what do you do? >> i inspect every closet and drawer. >> fantastic. >> then i have a, like a -- it's just my organization items. it's kind of how my head works. i have to put things where i think they belong in a room so i have access to them.
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this is pathetic. this is so bad. stop talking about it. i'm single, i need to find a man. >> this is not going to help. >> this is not going to help. >> guys are going to say who is this weirdo. devils advocate. let's have a clip. watch this. >> you know, you buy a couple and you are fine. >> it's a little more than that. >> i know we have all this that's supposed to be fun, but it's not. it's like attached. the whole thing is like one big test. >> fascinating watching you. i know you don't like watching yourself, do you? >> um -- i have gotten a lot better.
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since i have been producing, i am better with it. i hate my voice, the way i sound. that was the hardest -- >> that's not your real voice. that's the problem. >> maybe. but since i have become a producer and had to, you know, sit in editing rooms and watch footage cut together, i think i have gotten better to take myself out of it and look at it as making a film and you kind of take all that weight off yourself. it's been really great for me as an actor. >> you bring incredible intensity to this stuff. you scare the life out of me. i'm watching it from here. you are like a raging volcano in some of these parts. >> a raging volcano who likes to clean. >> yes. the most weird type of raging volcano. >> um -- that film, taylor hackford, the director of the film cast me after several screen tests and auditions. the studio didn't want me. the studio thought i was too
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pretty and taylor fought for me. he really fought for me. he's very much an actor's director. i really kind of have to thank him. every moment on that set, i never felt like i was treated like an actor who didn't know anything. he gave me a stage where i could be a raging maniac. >> do you know how much money you have taken at the box office? >> god, no. >> $800 million. >> wow. >> from 26 movies. >> wow. that sounds good. >> you're the billion dollar woman. >> i don't pay that much attention to that. >> you don't care how much they make? >> i care. i want people to go see my movies. i'm not an actor -- >> if i could offer you a choice, you could be a lead actress in a movie that's going to make $800 million in two months but be critically
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hammered, everyone is going to hate you. >> that's not the reason i would choose it. >> you could have one of two scenarios or put you in a movie in which you win awards for your acting but it completely bombs at the box office. which would you prefer at this stage of your career? >> i guess i would take the one that makes the billion dollars that the critics don't care for because then i can make seven of the ones -- >> that's a fascinating answer. that's an honest answer. >> that's the business side of me. i understand how this business works. even though i understand how this machine is driven and how it works, even in making the choices i have on the bigger studio films, i feel really, really lucky and i'm grateful that i have never truly felt
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like i have done myself any -- i haven't compromised to the place where i feel uncomfortable. i have chosen the big movies with still a belief that there's something creative there in the story telling. it's not a complete sell-out. >> i accept that. we'll take a short break. when we come back, we're going to talk about south africa and your mother who is a heroic constant figure in your life. >> the broad. >> the broad. [ male announcer ] all over the world, there's a battery that's relied on to help bring children holiday joy. of course, children don't really think about which battery makes their toy run, but, still, you'd never want to disappoint. duracell. trusted everywhere. you feel it working, so you know you're ready for whatever the day brings.
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>> give it to you straight. i'm trying to clean my life up here and go straight and christian and all, so, if there's anything that you can help me with -- >> you are convicted of a felony. >> that's because -- >> that doesn't matter. the best you are going to get is factory work. todd, do we have factory work? >> i'm sorry. i'm trying to talk to you woman-to-woman, truthfully.
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hey! hey! hey! >> charlize theron as eileen warner. that wasn't just heralded as a great movie. critics in america said it was one of the greatest performances in the history of acting, an amazing thing to say about a young actress in your position. it was an astounding film. so visceral a role, that chakt. when you look back on it now, brilliant for you and your career, to actually play that role, what was the experience like? >> that was the greatest gift i have been given in my career. >> really? >> i'm not going to sit here and be jaded about it. >> did you watch the oscars as a young girl? >> yeah, yeah, yeah. >> did you think it was impossibly glamorous? >> yeah, the funny thing is i would watch the oscars. i would go to the movies. i love movies, but i didn't know
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-- i didn't know the celebrity aspect of it. i didn't know their names. that's that guy in the movie. that was my connection to it. i felt this kind of, my perspective was, i thought that tom hanks was like my neighbor in south africa. he happened to be an actor. i didn't understand, you know, the reality of what that world was. >> what was the reality of life in south africa? pretty tough from everything i read and heard. >> tough -- i had an incredible childhood in south africa. i grew up in a country with a lot of turmoil. look, i went through, i lived in a country that went through one of the biggest historical changes in this -- in my lifetime. now, with everything that's
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happening in north africa and the middle east, it's equivalent to that. in '91, and '94, with the first re-election, the first democratic re-election, that was a really huge thing. i think it was only around then when i was around 19 or 20 that i truly understood. before that, i didn't know any different. then, from traveling and understanding where i was coming from, i understood how what we had gone through as a country and as a nation. living, when i was raised in south africa, i was raised somewhat isolated in a rural farm community. my parents had a construction company, they built a lot of the roads in south africa. the farm was used for us to survive on. we grew and ate everything. it was to hold the machinery. everybody that worked for the company lived with us.
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i was an only child. i was raised with sioux lieus and their children. i was only aware of what was going on in south africa through the fact my parents were very much outspoken about politics. that was an every night event, having dinner and having my mom and dad talk about the situation and politics and witnessing racism through some of my friends and that knowledge was evident. so, i think i was blessed to have the childhood that you have to look at the glass half empty or half full. i grew up in a beautiful country with a lot of problems. i was raised by two great parents, a great mother who made me very much aware of having a political awareness of where you come from and of the world. i feel like a lot of my friends
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in america don't have that. they were raised in a country that was very fortunate. >> i went to south africa last summer. i went around the township, it's an incredible thing to do. millions of people living in poverty. their spirit would be really low and depressed. it could not be more different. joy i saw amongst these people that had nothing. it was really from hope. they have been given hope by nelson mandela and taught not to complain by nelson mandela. if ever a man should if ever a man should complain,it is him. he came out of prison, we're not going to have a bloody war, we are going to forgive and move on and be a country that unites. that's what happened. >> a lot of politicians can say that and it has no effect. his cause and effect is brilliant. >> have you met him?
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>> yes. >> when did you meet him? >> the first time i met him, i won the academy award. that was the first time i met him. >> what did he say to you? >> the nicest things that any icon or hero could say. things i'm so not deserving of. >> like what? >> just, you know, giving me credit for being a south african and putting south africa on the map, which i didn't. but i'll take it any day. >> it was a big deal for a south african to win an oscar. >> not in that category. >> any ever? >> yes. >> who? >> i don't know. it's pretty special, yeah. for this farm girl, yeah it's pretty special. >> extraordinary. i want to come after the next break to what i was going to get to when we got sidetracked. your mother who was, i think you would say pretty special?
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back now with charlize theron. there was this thing that happened to you. i don't want to rake over the coals, i know you have moved on
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from this but you talk fondly of both of your parents. one day, you are 15 years old and this awful scene erupts where your father comes back with his younger brother, they are both drunk, aggressive, your father has a gun as most people in south africa does. he starts shooting in a room with your mother and you in it. your mother shoots him dead. i don't want to go over the details. in terms of the impact it had in your life, how would you describe what happened afterwards? how much of it is down to you, if anything? >> look, i don't know. it was the great tragedy of my life, but i think that what follows is what normally follows when you go through something,
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like a great loss or shock. i'm not the first person and i won't be the last person on this earth to experience something like that. unfortunately, a lot of people experience that kind of violence. you have to find where you want yourself to be and how you want people to see you in this world. i was blessed to have a parent that guided me towards very healthy time period of mourning, going through the confusion, going through the shock, the anger, all the emotional things you do when this happens to you. really, kind of guided me towards not being a victim and not going through my life feeling victimized. i'm saddened by that night and saddened by that i vent.
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>> do you still have nightmares, flashbacks? does it haunt you? >> no, it doesn't haunt me at all. i'm completely at peace. >> it's an extraordinary thing, she sends you off. she says get away. whatever happens to me, i don't want you part of this. get away and have a career. you did. >> my mother is amazing. i know all daughters will say this. it sounds bias. my mother is a very -- she's very unique. >> she saved your life when you were 2 years old. you fell into a swimming pool, she dived in fully clothed and pulled you out and she saved your life again. >> she saved my life many other times, too. >> tell me about her. >> it's incredible, she hates this. she's a very private person and hates when i talk about her.
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i will do this because we always tend to talk about that night and i think it is good for people to understand that my mother has this incredible ability to -- she has a resilience about her that i have never come across in any other human being. she has this incredible ability to truly understand and appreciate the value of life. and i'm not just saying that because of that experience. she had it before. when i was growing up. not just because she went through an event where you kind of have to look at every single day that it could be your last because these things do happen. i'm not saying it in that sense. from the time i was a little girl, my mother had this appreciation. she celebrates life. the interesting thing is she -- i don't understand where she got
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the tools to be the mother she is. she did not have a mother who was good to her. so, i'm -- i -- i want to just -- i always feel like i want to praise her and kind of sing her praises in some way because i feel that it's wrong that's the only kind of event people always talk about. >> the most remarkable thing you can probably show people is your mother's strength from that time of terrible crisis for both of you and the family. look where you are now. >> i think in my oscar speech i tried to say this but lost it. i tried to say there were no words to describe how grateful, how much i love her and how grateful i am because of the things she sacrificed for me to do this. she was completely alone. she was living on a farm by herself. it's one of the most dangerous things you can do in south africa. she did it for years.
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she encouraged me to go chase a better life for myself. another parent could have said no. >> the strength and character you get from your mother. there must be things you got from your father. >> he was a fun guy. you know, he was a fun guy. i've -- i -- you know, he liked to laugh. i remember him laughing a lot. um, god. yeah. look, i'm sure i'm positive i'm from both of them, but i feel very similar to my mother, very, very similar to my mother. >> let's take another break. i want to come back and talk to you about what you have given back to south africa since you have been here. it's an extraordinary thing you have achieved, i think. [ male announcer ] you are a business pro.
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back with charlize theron. the charlize theron africa outreach project is to reduce hiv/aids and sexual violence. 12 years you have been doing this. you have had real success and achievement. tell me about it.
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>> we launched the program in 2007. i started working with the rape crisis center in africa 12 years ago. at that time, we were the rape capital of the world. it's a big issue in south africa. what happens when you start talking about the rape crisis in south africa, you start understanding there's a bigger problem because you are dealing with a country affected with hiv and aids. south africa, the epidemic in south africa is the worst than any other country in the world. the number of premature deaths caused by hiv/aids increased from 39% to 75%. we are only 1% of the population. we are 17% of people living with aids and hiv in the world.
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so, you start hearing things like that and, like obviously i'm south african so it made sense to me. i think if i wasn't a south african and heard those numbers -- >> what is the main reason it is so bad in south africa and what can be done? >> i think it's a lack of education. i really believe that. this program made me aware of that. we take for granted people knowing how to prevent hiv and aids. there's a lot of money pouring into immediate care for people who are positive. i think it's very important. we have a real problem with governments and dnaors not dealing with preventive care. to end this vicious cycle, we have to seriously start looking at prevention care. it's all about education.
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when we launched the program in 2007, we started the sex educational part of it. you know, culturally it's not accepted to talk about these things. it's taboo. we start a conversation with teenagers about sex was impossible. we would get amazing beautiful african mommas, a mother figure to them who made it okay to talk about sex and condoms and prevention. also, explore, kind of to broaden the horizons about making it about hiv and aids and finding the things integrated into that. how you behave with a woman and how you value a woman in your community. what is sex and what is love and hygiene and all of these things. we started realizing that once they realized it was okay, they didn't know anything. they didn't have the tools or the knowledge. >> these t-shirts i have here, lively little numbers.
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tell me about these. >> they are amazing. a great group of people at give and take partnered up with us. incredible people. i'm grateful to them. 50% of the proceeds go to africa outreach. >> how can you get them? >> you can buy them there. >> and directly help? >> yes. here's the thing. when i started this, you kind of go in very naively thinking you can do a lot with very little. the truth is you do need good access to donors and money. i feel like people are especially in this country want to help and do. it's a question of kind of letting them know how to reach out. >> what's the single biggest
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problem the young in south africa don't really want to use condoms or know much about them. is that the problem? >> it's knowledge. i think they want to use them. we have a survey. we did a survey on our program and 70% of all of our children who have access to condoms use them. so, again, i feel that -- i feel that we forget the importance of knowledge of just purely -- when we started this program, i had a 16-year-old boy say he was not going to be hiv positive. i said good, why? he said because i have a condom and i wash it and i use it. you wonder how many lives you can save if you tell, how many children you tell teenagers that are sexually active, you cannot reuse a condom. we have great data on what antiviral drugs have done. we don't have great data on what prevention care has done and can do.
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it's something that's going to take a whole generation to figure out. that's why we have a problem with donors and government supporting these programs. prevention care doesn't feel as necessary or as important as somebody already infected. i'm not taking away the importance of that but i do feel that we can't just focus on one and neglect the other. it's proven when you look at the statistics. >> we'll take another break. when we come back, i want to talk to you about politics which is often discussed at the dinner table when you were young. we are going to spice things up a bit. >> really? >> i'll explain why. i think you know why. [ woman ] my boyfriend and i were going on vacation, so i used my citi thank you card to pick up some accessories. a new belt. some nylons. and what girl wouldn't need new shoes? we talked about getting a diamond. but with all the thank you points i've been earning... ♪ ...i flew us to the rock i really had in mind.
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will be giving away passafree copies of the alcoholism & addiction cure. to get yours, go to we're back with charlize theron. we have been joined by tacos and beer. the reason for that is in "esquire" magazine in 2007 you said the following. i can't go anywhere. a place where we can go sit around, drink beers, argue politics and be left alone. take me there, i'll go with you, i'm yours. well, charlize, here we are. >> you don't realize when you say these things how much trouble you get into because people remember them. >> tell me about your views on various political issues. what issues in america wind you up?
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>> there are a few. >> come on. >> i try not to get myself in it. look, here is the thing, i voted for obama. i only voted twice in my life. for obama and p mandela. i won't lie to you, both times i felt it was historical. >> you feel obama is as capable of being great? >> he's capable of it. i wish the democrats would put action to what they tell people. >> this is a contentious one for you. i imagine you have strong views, what do you feel of the gun policy in america? >> i don't think by any means anyone should have a semiautomatic or automatic weapon for anything. i'll start with that. you know?
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i think that i obviously come from, i have had an experience in my life where the wrong circumstances a gun could be used in a very tragic way. i also understand people's feelings about wanting to have their right to protect themselves. i find it interesting that the right to bear arms has nothing to do with owning a gun. >> you said something interesting about gay marriage. i never had a fancy getting married. the more i lived in the u.s. and friends being gay or lesbian and watching them struggle you can only get married if you have the right kind of love. i think love is love where we have the same rights. >> it's a divine right. when government starts to tell us who can love and what is good love, whether it's government or a government built on a certain religion, i do have a problem with that, i do. i think if you want to bring it back to the politics, a discussion about politics, i
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have a problem with the fact that our government has not stepped up enough to make it federal. >> you would like to see every state in america oblige to gay marriage? >> i think everybody has that right, i do. for me, i think people took that quote and tried to make it about a statement for myself. i'll be the first to say here on your show, marriage before i felt this way about this issue was never something that was important. i don't know the exact reason for that. some say it's because i came from a troubled marriage. my parents did not have a good marriage. i don't think it's that. i know a lot of friends who come from divorced parents and bad marriages that don't feel that way. i really want, for myself, a long-term relationship. i have been in long-term relationships. i want that.
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that's the kind of union i want. the actual ceremony is not something that's important to me. i see the importance for other people. i have a friend getting married in october. i'm going for the first time through this experience of being in her bridal party and i see the joy in her face and this is a homosexual couple. i also have gay couples who have gotten married when it was legal in the state and i have seen the joy that they get out of that. and i -- just because i don't want that for myself, i don't feel it's right to take that away from someone else. >> do you think you'll never get married? >> i don't. i don't. i mean, look, here's the thing when you're in partnership with someone, tough respect how the other person feels and i don't want to be one of those, my way. but i've been very fortunate enough to be in relationships where i have explained that to my partner and they have about very okay with that, not that i have kind of forced them into a corner. i treat my relationships like marriages. i really do and for me, i
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feel -- i feel a lot of marriage, you know, taking away if you're living by the standard of what you believe a marriage is, a lot of it is really great in the celebration of finding a dress and getting -- and for the girl, especially feeling like a princess. so i really understand marriage and i respect marriage. i just feel that it should be -- we should all have equal rights. love is such a divine thing, such a gift and who are we to say? >> come back after a final break, i have provided beer and tacos. women have beer and tacos, they talk about one thing, men. so we will.
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>> what do you want? >> you know this was never about the gold. >> what ever helps you sleep at night, sweetheart. >> charlie! come on, charlie! >> charlize theron, "the italian job" surrounded by good-looking men, which bring mess neatly -- >> my job is so hard. it's so hard. >> just working with hunky guys all day long.
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>> so exhausting. look in those gorgeous faces. >> how many times have you been properly in love? >> that is so -- oh. a few. i'm gonna leave it at a few. >> how many fingers? >> no. a few. i've -- a few. >> you had a long-time relationship with an irishman and it ended last year. soon after you had said, quite publicly, you were sort of hinting you thought this might be the one that was gonna be the lifetime relationship, but it didn't work out. why was that, do you think? >> you know, i really love my job and i love my fans but when it comes to my relationships, it's something that i keep very sacred to me. it's very private. >> before you split up, you were often asked about children, made no secret of that, like to have children. >> i have always, yeah. >> obviously, you're not -- are you in another relationship yet? am i allowed to pry?
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>> no. >> outrageous names. >> after i eat this taco and talk about my ocd, i apparently will never have a man in my life again. >> eva longoria spoon fed me guacamole. >> i don't necessarily want to be like all the other women that came here. i would like to see you with your capable hands bring the taco to your capable -- >> i have a pub back in london. do you have any idea -- >> eat that taco? >> spoon feeding this to me? >> i think it would be rude if we don't take a bite. come on, dig in with me. come on. this is messy. >> is it true -- >> can't shut him up no even with a taco. look at this. >> is it true -- go on. >> mmm. >> actually, it is not bad. >> that is a very good taco. mm-hmm. >> do you know how many times i have dreamt of having a taco with you over a few beers?
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tell me about you and prince harry. >> oh, my god. we're married. i'm pregnant. and i'm -- >> my god, all that, dropped anchor. any flirtation there? >> no, i met him, such a nice guy. i love the work that he does in africa. i got invited to a -- i've never been to a polo match. i was in london working on a film and so i got this great invite. i wanted to go see a polo game and he does great work in africa. we are going to try to do something together and that's really what that was. and it was up believable how, you know that introduction turned into some crazy, crazy wildfire, like it was -- yeah. >> early days? >> i feel bad for him. >> do you? >> yeah. i mean, it was such an innocent introduction and to have people just kind of -- that must just really be horrible. >> i don't think he is moaning. trust me.
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harry linked to charlize theron is not the worst day. >> a charming guy. really smart, funny, nice, beautiful, effortless conversation. >> outrageous name i have had done been asked to put to you is keanu reeves? >> this is the problem when you're single and your friends kind of come out to help you and you know, take you out for a nice meal. >> not a sliver of truth? >> i have known keanu over 15 years. we became really, really good friends, did two movies together. he lives ten minutes away from me. we became really, really good friends. i consider him one of my best friends. >> like "when harry met sally" 15 years on. >> there's no truth to that. he is just a very, very dear friend. >> so you are footloose and fancy free? >> respect you married? >> i'm not -- trying to establish your single credentials, not offering my services.