Theron was quoted in an Elle magazine interview published last week saying that she wouldn't travel to parts of the United States with her family due to worries over racism, and that she had thought about leaving the country to keep her children safe.
The 42-year-old actress and producer said in interview Tuesday with The Associated Press that her comments were "taken to the extreme" in media reports.
"I was trying to share an honest moment of what my thought process sometimes is. And it was taken to the extreme of a statement that is not how I feel at all," she said. "I have two beautiful children who are my priorities. ... We are living in a time where we have to start vocalizing and talking honestly about things that are going on. ... And we also have a right to vent about that stuff. I'm not leaving the country. But I can share with people that I've thought about that. You know? Yeah - and that I am worried about my children's future. I think we all are as parents."
Theron spoke while promoting her motherhood-focused movie, "Tully," due in theaters on May 4. Directed by Jason Reitman, it features Theron as an overwhelmed mother of three who forms a bond with a young nanny, played by Mackenzie Davis.
The South African star also reflected on the death of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who died earlier this month at 81. The former wife of Nelson Mandela was considered by some in South Africa to be the mother of the nation as she fought for the rights of blacks suffering under white-rule apartheid as her husband was in prison. But she was accused of using violence against her opponents.
Theron met Nelson Mandela several times before his 2013 death but never met Madikizela-Mandela.
"Well, her story is very conflicted. It's a very conflicted story. She's not - like all of us, she's not a perfect person," she said. "I think that you have to kind of like look at a person's whole life. And her life is a very conflicted one."
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