If you were in theatres for Atomic Blonde, you know that Charlize Theron is an iconic action heroine. What's even more interesting is that she performs most of her stunts on her own. 

She has gone on record to admit that she loves storytelling through the stunts. 

"I think it's the ballerina in me," she once told news.com.au

And with doing one's own stunts, there is always the possibility of getting injured, a possibility for a mishap somewhere down the line. When this mishap happened with Theron, she was a centimeter away from being completely paralyzed. 

Charlize Theron Tried to Keep the Surgery Under Wraps

Back in 2013, Theron made a red carpet appearance at the Variety 5th Annual Power of Women event in Beverly Hills, where she donned a pristine white dress paired with a matching scarf. 

No one had made anything of the scarf, except for the obvious red carpet coverage, until a source with Us Weekly spilled that Theron was actually recovering from recent neck surgery. 

She had decided to seek treatment for an injury she had suffered several years ago while filming Aeon Flux. She had found a clever way to hide the surgical wound under a bandaid tucked safely behind her scarf. 

Charlize Theron Underwent Surgery to Fix a Vertebral Injury

The source told the outlet that the injury had been acting up lately, and hence Theron opted for a surgical intervention to fix the problem. However, another source added that she was not feeling very well post-surgery, so she'd be taking a weekend off to rest up and recuperate. 

About a week later, a source with E! came forth with an update. They clarified that it was a minor procedure and that Theron was doing just fine. The outlet also reported that the surgery was meant to correct an injured vertebra, but not much else was known back then. 

The actress kept hush for quite a few years until she finally decided to share her side of the story in an interview with news.com.au in 2017.

Charlize Theron's 2005 Neck Injury

Theron suffered a nasty fall on-set in 2005 while filming for Aeon Flux, and in direct contradiction to the source from E!, she outed that it was a rather severe injury. 

While nobody was directly responsible for the fall that caused the injury, she confessed that she was a mere centimeter away from being paralyzed for the rest of her life.

After the fall, she had landed on her neck, and for the next eight years, she had to deal with the pain. However, the spasms and nerve damage could not be mitigated without surgical intervention.

I ended up having a (neck) fusion four years ago, and it was the best thing I ever did. Now my body’s functioning perfectly again, and I obviously didn’t want to mess that up.

Since the unfortunate incident, Theron had realized that if a performer like herself were out to do their own stunts, they'd have to be properly prepared. 

Admittedly, it was a wake-up call for the action star. However, it hasn't slowed her down in the slightest.

She might take an extra few weeks to prepare for the stunts, but you can bet your bottom dollar that she won't back out from a scene that'll keep the audience at the edge of their seat.