For nearly 25 years he’s charmed fans everywhere with his rock hard abs, distinctive drawl, and loveable scoundrel appeal. He has a versatility that lets him play a variety of roles from that of a cocky young lawyer, to a devilish treasure hunting explorer, to sleazy night club entrepreneur named Dallas, and we all continue to watch, impressed.
There is no denying the natural charisma of Mr. Matthew McConaughey. Fans have seen McConaughey evolve from the life of a carefree bachelor, to a dedicated father of three children. He’s been compared to Paul Newman in terms of his classic good looks, which suits him just fine as he’s a huge fan of the actor and even named one of his dogs “Mrs. Hud” in tribute the 1963 film Hud, which starred Newman.
Today he is considered one of the world’s hottest leading men, having recently moved away from the romantic comedy roles he took on in the mid-2000’s leading him back into a series of diverse and complex roles. He’s grown up and matured in front of his fans, but hasn’t lost that sense of carefree adventure that everyone loves about him. He’s been celebrated for his beauty, having been named People magazine’s sexiest man alive in 2005, and honored for his talents having earned his first Oscar for his portrayal of Ron Woodruff in the 2013 film Dallas Buyers Club. With nearly 60 acting credits under his Texan-sized belt, he shows little sign of slowing down. Here are 15 fun and interesting facts about Matthew McConaughey.
15. He Really Is A Texan
That infamous McConaughey drawl isn’t put on, it comes naturally. Matthew David McConaughey was born a Scorpio on November 4, 1969 in Uvalde, Texas. His mother Mary Kathleen McCabe was a kindergarten teacher, and his father, James Donald McConaughey, worked in the oil supply business, but once played football and was drafted to play for the Green Bay Packers. His father died of a heart attack in 1992, which his mother revealed in her book I Amaze Myself! happened while the couple was having sex. She has explained she ensured her husband was taken from the house naked following his death.
Matthew has a brother, Michael, whose nickname is Rooster. Although young Matthew spent most of his childhood in Uvalde, his family moved to Longview, Texas in 1980 where McConaughey attended Longview High School. His first job as a teenager was at the local country club where he’d rake and prepare the sand traps; sometimes he’d also earn his paycheck by shooting armadillos on the course. Matthew became known for his good looks early and was voted by his classmates as “Most Handsome” his senior year.
14. He Had Legal Aspirations
Matthew’s original scholastic ambitions involved the young Texan studying pre-law, going to law school and beginning an esteemed career as a criminal defence lawyer. While he attended the University of Texas at Austin and began this path, young Matthew decided that the idea of practicing law for his entire life would be too boring and decided to drop out at 21 years old. He decided to go to film school instead. While he didn’t fulfill his former dream of becoming a hotshot lawyer, his mainstream breakthrough role was portraying criminal defence lawyer, Jake Tyler Brigance, in the 1996 John Grisham novel adaptation film A Time to Kill alongside a young Sandra Bullock. Bullock and McConaughey’s chemistry was fairly apparent on the silver screen, and after meeting on the movie set the pair dated for two years. He also played a criminal defence lawyer in the acclaimed 2011 film The Lincoln Lawyer.
13. Life Motto
In his first film role, Dazed and Confused, Matthew played the lecherous 20 something Wooderson, a character known for still hanging out with high schoolers and actively pursuing much younger girls. The character Wooderson has a life motto that has stuck with McConaughey after all of these years, “You gotta just keep livin’ man, L-I-V-I-N.” Matthew has embraced this credo in his everyday life and created his own clothing line “j.k. livin” to celebrate this perspective. This clothing line is a rugged collection crafted with the idea of leading by example and features sweaters and active wear as well as printed graphic T-shirts that showcase witty expressions straight from the mouth of Matthew himself. A portion of all clothing sales is donated directly to Matthew’s JKL Foundation to start and support extracurricular fitness and wellness programs in communities that need it the most. The idea behind the JKL foundation, founded by Matthew and his wife Camila, is to just keep on living, and giving.
12. He’s Got The Beat
Matthew loves music and has incorporated it into various facets of his life. One of his first acting jobs was starring in a music video for country singer Trisha Yearwood. He is a huge fan of both Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp. In fact he can be seen sporting a t-shirt from Mellencamp’s “Whenever We Wanted” tour in the film A Time to Kill. The actor is a bongo drum enthusiast and made the cover of tabloids everywhere in October 1999, when he was arrested for “resisting transportation” after police discovered the star in possession of cannabis while playing his bongo drums (no euphemism here) loudly in the nude. At a concert in March 2012, he joined rock group The Cult on stage in Texas to play bongo drums with them for two songs. Matthew and his wife also played music during the labor of their first son Levi, listening to Brazilian music, for eight straight hours inside the delivery room.
11. The Real Jack Dawson?
For years in Hollywood there have been rumors that his breakout performance in A Time to Kill put McConaughey in discussion to take on the lead role of Jack Dawson in the blockbuster heavyweight Titanic in 1997. During a 2014 award acceptance speech, when the American Cinematheque made the star the honor of its annual accolades, Matthew decided that it was time to correct the long-standing elephant in the room about his involvement with Titanic. McConaughey said, “I did not get offered the lead role in Titanic, as it has been rumored I did.” The star then looked at his agent who was sitting in the audience and addressed him directly, “I didn’t get an offer, right? Because if I did, we need to talk.” In 2013, Matthew had the opportunity to work with the real Titanic star, Leonardo DiCaprio, when the pair starred in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street.
10. Scent Of A Man
Matthew has been the spokesman for several brands of colognes and scented products. He’s appeared in advertisements for Stetson Black cologne, and showed off his absolutely fabulous abdominal muscles to help promote Dolce & Gabbana’s perfume for men, “The One.” Despite these pubic endorsements the star is known for abstaining from wearing both deodorant and colognes, and has maintained this lifestyle choice for over 20 years. The star has said, “The women in my life, including my mother, have all said, ‘Hey your natural smell smells, one, like a man, and, two, smells like you.” Despite their fantastic onscreen chemistry in both How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and Fools Gold, actor Kate Hudson was not a big fan of Matthew’s natural pheromones and would routinely ask him to use a salt rock as natural deodorant while they were on set. Matthew decided to remain scentless, much to Hudson’s chagrin.
9. He’s Charitable
In addition to the funds that Matthew and his wife Camila raise for the JKL Foundation, Matthew truly lives his “just keep giving” motto. In order to provide support to Oprah’s Angel Network Hurricane Katrina and Rita relief, the star auctioned off his 1971 Chevy Corvette Stingray on eBay and donated all of the money. In 2006, Matthew came across two juvenile delinquents who had doused a cat in hairspray in an attempt to set it on fire, and rescued the cat. The animal lover has also autographed a wooden dog bone to help out at an auction to benefit the Mississippi Animal Rescue League. Causes the star has supported over the years include at risk youth, cancer, abuse, addiction, senior citizen support, education, animal, mental illness, and poverty. Matthew and his family can routinely be seen giving back to their local and global community by donating and actively participating at regular charity events.
8. Animal Magnetism
Matthew loves animals, and being at one with nature. He has a dog named Foxy, and during the speeches for the 2014 American Cinematheque tribute to the actor Jennifer Garner had something to say about the star. “He has a dog named BJ, and it stands for what you think it stands for.” During the same award event former co-star Kate Hudson commented on the Texan’s affinity for becoming one with nature recounting a story about Matthew that took place at her family’s cabin way up North. The star described it being late at night and realizing that McConaughey was no longer in the cabin. Since she thought it wasn’t very safe for her guest to be outside with the wildlife in the woods she went out looking for him. The blonde beauty said, “I found him standing on a rock, butt naked, howling, I was like, OK, there’s Matthew McConaughey, and he’s fine.” Unusual names for pets and children may run in the family, Matthew’s brother Michael “Rooster” reportedly named his son Miller Lyte McConaughey.
7. Matthew Likes It Down Under
No that isn’t anything kinky, the star really likes Australia and many of its pastimes. In 1988 Matthew signed up for a Rotary Exchange Program and lived on the Central Coast of New South Wales as a part of his education. During his time on exchange he had a variety of jobs including working at a bank, continuing his part-time profession on the golf courses, but this time assisting golf professionals, farming, and working as a carpenter. At age 19, when spending some time working on a Pea Farm in Narrandera he discovered a passion for the sport of Cricket, regularly watching matches five days a week. The star has a variety of eclectic hobbies he’s picked up over the years including cycling, surfing, football, golf, working out, and yoga. While the star’s favorite sport is golf, he is also a big fan of the Washington Redskins, even though he’s a Texan.
6. He’s Afraid
Matthew suffers from a fear known as Entamaphobia, a fear of doors. For the star this fear has to do specifically with his dislike for revolving doors. Entamaphobia is also often associated with Claustrophobia and Agoraphobia. He has also said in addition to his distaste for rotating doors, “I really don’t like that blind spot when you’re driving and go into a tunnel. You know that spot where you can’t see for about 10 feet. You can’t see what’s in front of you or if someone’s broken down or something in front of you.” As in most fears or phobias, there is often a root in childhood, and perhaps Matthew had a negative experience surrounding a revolving door or tunnel as a child. There is no official term to describe a fear of tunnels, and it is often described as a type of anxiety. However it is usually associated with Claustrophobia, similar to the fear of being trapped in a revolving door.
5. Romantic Links
It’s not a big shocker that a good looking guy like Matthew has enjoyed dating his fair share of hot leading ladies. In the mid-nineties the actor supposedly hooked up with Ashley Judd. Apparently, in 2002, Matthew very briefly dated songstress Janet Jackson after they met at the Grammy Awards. In 2005, on the set of the movie Sahara, Matthew met and began dating his co-star, Penelope Cruz. The two dated each other for over a year. There were rumors that the beach loving bodacious babe hooked up with his Surfer Dude co-star Cassandra Hepburn.
Matthew married the mother of his children, Levi, Vida and Livingston, the Brazilian model and designer Camila Alves, on their Texas ranch in 2012, after the pair had dated for six years. Matthew, like any good husband, credits much of his success to his wife, saying with Camila, “I have never been able to make any excuses.”
4. It’s Going To Be Alright, Alright, Alright
Most people won’t remember the first thing that they said on the first day of their new job, particularly their first “real” job in the path to their current career. The likelihood of remembering this lessens when these words were uttered well over two decades ago, but Matthew remembers what he said and continues to pay tribute to his film roots. Fans of Matthew’s first film, a Richard Linklater directed, Dazed and Confused may know that the first words the star ever uttered on screen were, “Alright, Alright, Alright”. Linklater originally thought that Matthew was too good-looking to play the high school skirt chasing cliché, but was convinced after Matthew grew his hair and a mustache. This catch phrase, sometimes used in T-shirts for his J.K Livin clothing line have stuck with the star, so much that he made sure to say them when accepting his Oscar and Golden Globe for his performance in The Dallas Buyers Club.
3. His Heroes
Matthew isn’t afraid to express his own childhood and real life heroes. As a kid he was a huge fan of Evel Knievel and has expressed an interest in starring in a movie about the daredevil’s life. When asked about which superhero he would most like to play, the star is green with envy over others who have been asked to portray The Incredible Hulk. He doubts that he’ll be given the opportunity to play the green, rage-fueled hero, since Edward Norton, Eric Bana, and Mark Ruffalo have all played The Hulk in recent years. In his 2014 Best Actor Oscar speech Matthew surprised people by telling a story about himself at age 15 being asked who his hero was. His simple answer was, “Me in ten years.” The actor then continued that his hero remains himself, but ten years later, “So you see every day, every week, every month and every year of my life, my hero’s always 10 years away. I’m never gonna be my hero. I’m not gonna attain that. I know I’m not, and that’s just fine with me because that keeps me with somebody to keep on chasing.”
2. His Bromance with Lance Armstrong
Over the years the press has paid a lot of attention, not only to the women in Matthew’s life, but also his friends. His friendship with Lance Armstrong withstood both time and scandal. The two born and bred Texan boys trained together, usually without shirts, for marathons, vacationed together, and completed charitable work together on Armstrong’s not-for-profit to support people living with cancer. There were rumors that the two were an item, although both maintained their friendship was platonic. Like fans and friends everywhere Matthew was admittedly angry when the Armstrong doping scandal first broke, but supports his friend. In an interview at the Sundance Film Festival said, “Where I am now is I’ve put myself out of the way and I’m happy for this guy, who has now chosen to re-enter this new chapter of his life a truly free man. And the weight he had on his shoulders, without the boogieman under the bed, the skeleton in the closet that he’s carried for 14 years. Fourteen years he lied and carried that lie with him.”
1. His Bromances with Everyone Else
While the friendship with Lance Armstrong and Matthew McConaughey is probably the most famous one, there are a number of other notable “bros” that have been let into Matthew’s wolf pack over the years. In 2006 Matthew was spotted going for regular bike rides with buddy Jake Gyllenhaal; he developed a fast friendship with Channing Tatum while the pair worked on the film Magic Mike;, and the star likes to joke around with his funny man friend Jack Black, having worked on comedies Tropic Thunder and Bernie. Woody Harrelson and Matthew have been friends for decades, having worked on EdTV and True Detective together. When paying tribute to his friend during an award gala, Harrelson couldn’t make it out, but provided a video while he rode a bicycle in circles saying, “I’ve been thinkin’ a lot about you, brother.” (Pause.)”Not in a gay way.” (Pause). “Well, maybe a little bit.”