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. 

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Charlize Theron through the years
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Charlize Theron through the years
HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 27: (L-R) TV personality/comedian Chelsea Handler (L) and actress Charlize Theron attend amfAR's Inspiration Gala at Milk Studios on October 27, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Tachman/Getty Images for amfAR)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 27: Charlize Theron attends amfAR's Inspiration Gala Los Angeles at Milk Studios on October 27, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 21: Actress Charlize Theron arrives at the premiere of DIRECTV's 'Dark Places' at Harmony Gold Theatre on July 21, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 18: Actress Charlize Theron attends the launch of UNAIDS New Fast Track Report ahead of World AIDS Day 2014 at UCLA on November 18, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David Buchan/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA- OCTOBER 17: Actress Charlize Theron arrives at the Wallis Annenberg Center For The Performing Arts Inaugural Gala at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on October 17, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California.(Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
Charlize Theron attends the Annual Charlize Theron African Outreach project at The Darby Restaurant on December 6, 2010 in New York City.
PROTECTIVE REPEAT: US actress Charlize Theron poses for a picture at the official grand opening party for the Atlantis Hotel on the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai on November 20, 2008. Dubai is threw a multi-million-dollar extravaganza today to launch a luxury hotel on an artificial palm-shaped island, despite the bite from the global financial crisis. More than 2,000 world celebrities are due to attend the event which is set to also include a firework display seven times larger than the Olympic display in Beijing, according to the event organisers. AFP PHOTO/KARIM SAHIB (Photo credit should read KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MARCH 11: Actress Charlize Theron attends the premiere of 'Sleepwalking' hosted by The Cinema Society and Dior Beauty at the Tribeca Grand Screening Room on March 11, 2006 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, United States: Best Actress Charlize Theron poses with her trophy at the 76th Academy Awards ceremony 29 February, 2004 at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, CA. Theron won for 'Monster.' AFP PHOTO Jeff HAYNES (Photo credit should read Jeff HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 16: Actress Charlize Theron attends the premiere of 'The Truth About Charlie' at the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre on October 16, 2002 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)
Actress Charlize Theron attends the 26th Annual People's Choice Awards on January 9, 2000 at Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Actress Charlize Theron attends the 'Mighty Joe Young' Santa Monica Premiere on December 10, 1998 at Cineplex Odeon Broadway 4 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Actress Charlize Theron attends the '2 Days in the Valley' Westwood Premiere on September 20, 1996 at Mann Village Theatre in Westwood, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 08: Actress Charlize Theron poses at the photo call For Focus Features' 'Kubo And The Two Strings' at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on July 8, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 08: Actress Charlize Theron attends a reunion for 'Two Days In The Valley' at NeueHouse Hollywood on July 8, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 20: Charlize Theron attends the screening of 'The Last Face' at the annual 69th Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 20, 2016 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Luca Teuchmann/WireImage)
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 20: Charlize Theron attends during a press conference for 'The Last Face' during the 69th annual Cannes Film Festival, in Cannes, France, May 20, 2016. (Photo by Murat Unlu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 20: Charlize Theron attends the 'The Last Face' Photocall at the annual 69th Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 20, 2016 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Mike Marsland/Mike Marsland/WireImage)
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 20: Adele Exarchopoulos and Charlize Theron attend the screening of 'The Last Face' at the annual 69th Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 20, 2016 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Luca Teuchmann/WireImage)
WESTWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 11: Charlize Theron arrives at the Premiere Of Universal Pictures' 'The Huntsman: Winter's War' on April 11, 2016 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
WESTWOOD, CA - APRIL 11: Actress Charlize Theron arrives at the premiere of Universal Pictures' 'The Huntsman: Winter's War' on April 11, 2016 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
BURBANK, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 09: Charlize Theron arrives at the 2016 MTV Movie Awards at Warner Bros. Studios on April 9, 2016 in Burbank, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
INGLEWOOD, CA - APRIL 07: Actress Charlize Theron walks the WE Carpet at WE Day California 2016 at The Forum on April 7, 2016 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 28: Actress Charlize Theron arrives at the 2016 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 28, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 28: Actress Charlize Theron arrives at the 2016 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 28, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images)
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