Charlize Theron credits mom for helping 'co-parent' her children

Charlize Theron may be a single mom, but she doesn't consider herself her kids' only parent.

The 42-year-old actress stuns on the cover of Elle's May issue, and inside the magazine, she reveals to pal Chelsea Handler that her mom, Gerta, plays a critical part in raising her children.

"I knew that I would have to have my mom help me if I was going to do this as a single parent," Theron shares. "To not acknowledge her coparenting my children would be a lie.”

The Tully star adopted son Jackson in March 2012 and daughter August in July 2015 -- and admits expanding her family hasn't exactly been easy.

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Mario Sorrenti
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Mario Sorrenti

"I struggled mentally through the adoption process. Some of my lowest points in my life were dealing with the first time I filed; it really took an emotional toll," she confesses. "There were so many situations that didn’t work out, and you’d get attached and have all your hopes up and then just get crushed.”

Now, Theron says she's concerned with making sure her African-American children "know where they come from and be proud of that."

"But they’re going to have to know that it’s a different climate for them than it is for me, and how unfair that is. If I can do something about that, of course I’m going to," she expresses, before noting that she won't travel with her children to certain parts of the U.S. because "racism is much more alive and well than people thought."

"We can’t deny it anymore. We have to be vocal," she says.