Matthew McConaughey Opens About Gut-Wrenching Parts Of His Past

The following article contains mentions of sexual and domestic abuse.

These days, Matthew McConaughey may be an Oscar-winning actor, the owner of Hollywood's most chiseled jawline, and the longtime husband to Camila Alves. The tragic truth of his teenage years is a far stretch from today's circumstances, however. As the actor recalled to People in 2020, he grew up in a volatile household, with his parents, James and Kay McConaughey, divorcing and remarrying each other several times. "They were, at times, violent ... it was like the Pacific Ocean in a storm," Matthew told the outlet.

Besides his tumultuous home life, the "Dallas Buyers Club" star dove into traumatic teenage sexual experiences in his 2020 memoir, "Greenlights," per Variety. Matthew wrote he was "blackmailed into having sex for the first time" at age 15, recalling thinking he "was going to hell" for having premarital sex. The actor also recounted the harrowing encounter he had at age 18 when a man molested him after knocking him unconscious in the back of a van.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Matthew McConaughey didn't let childhood abuse affect his adult relationships

Although Matthew McConaughey didn't expound much on these two incidents at the time, he recently opened up to Amanda de Cadenet on the "The Conversation: About the Men" podcast about learning to heal from and move past them. "I'm not gonna be afraid of relationships because my first experience was blackmail. Uh-uh. That's an aberration," he said on September 18, 2022 (per Page Six). "... I'm not gonna let that beat my sense of trust in people and say, 'No, I can have a healthy relationship.' Non-negotiable."

In his 2020 memoir, "Greenlights," McConaughey touched upon other traumatic incidents, including his father's death in 1992. The actor put his candor to humorous use when writing about it. "He'd had a heart attack when he climaxed" (during sex with McConaughey's mother), the actor described, per USA Today, fondly recalling, "He'd always told me and my brothers, 'Boys, when I go, I'm gonna be makin' love to your mother.'

As McConaughey told USA Today in 2020, he understandably did "a huge amount of laughing" and "a huge amount of crying" when writing "Greenlights." Fortunately, he said at the time, "Most of my tears came from being able to go back and feel the love that my family had."