Trevor Noah Opens Up About His Physically Abusive Stepfather

Photo: Matt Baron/REX/Shutterstock.
Trevor Noah always brings the laughs, so you would never know there was tragedy in his family. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Noah opened up about his abusive stepfather, specifically the time his stepfather shot his mother in the head. Miraculously, his mother survived, and now The Daily Show host is sharing how the experienced changed his entire outlook on life — especially this fast-paced, crazy life he covers on his TV show every day.
The 33-year-old, who was born during apartheid in South Africa, was an adult when he received a call from his brother explaining that their stepfather had shot their mother in the head after their divorce. Luckily, the bullet missed her brain and arteries, but their stepfather, while convicted of attempted manslaughter, was only sentenced to probation.
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"I remember after the shooting, my mother was in the hospital, and all I felt was rage," Noah told People and Entertainment Weekly Editorial Director Jess Cagle. "My mother said to me, 'Don’t hate him for doing this, but rather pity him because he too is a victim, in his own way, of a world that has thrust upon him an idea of masculinity that he has subscribed to and is now a part of. As for myself, I do not wish to imbue myself with a hatred that only I will carry.'"
While that's not something Noah was able to understand in the moment, it did eventually become a life philosophy that he now embodies.
"I think watching my mom, her growth post-shooting, our family and the way we became stronger, really became the example that I chose to live by," he continued. "That’s really what I’ve stuck to, and that’s how I try to live my life every day."
Most of his life these days is dedicated to calling out injustice and adding a dash of humor to the currently stressful political climate, but his work seems even more important now that we know the injustice that inspires it. Watch the interview below.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224 for confidential support.
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