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Matthew McConaughey is not letting being blackmailed into sex at 15 or being molested by a man at 18 make him “afraid of relationships.”
McConaughey first detailed the two encounters he had in his memoir, “Greenlights,” which was released in October last year. He appeared as a guest on “The Conversation with Amanda de Cadenet” on Sunday to share that these negative experiences will not “beat him.”
“‘I’m not going to be afraid of relationships because my first experience was blackmail. That’s an aberration. No, no, that’s not the way it is,” he said on the podcast. “And if I go on … and I’m not going to let it beat me. … I’m not going to let that beat my sense of trust in people and say, ‘No, I can have a healthy relationship.'”
McConaughey said he is not denying the trauma happened to him. “Happened. Am I denying that it happened? No. I’m not denying that it happened. Ugly,” he said, describing the incidents.
“I still get, even telling you this story, I get … but am I going to carry that? I chose, non-negotiabley, I’m not going to carry that, bring that baggage into the life I’m going to lead and how I treat people and how I trust people and how I look at circumstances and the risk I may take,” McConaughey added.
In the podcast episode, the “Interstellar” star opened up about when he was drugged and “knocked unconscious” before being put “in the back of a van” in Australia and being molested. He also shared that a few years before this incident, he was blackmailed into sex at just 15 years old.
McConaughey noted that his first sexual encounter involving blackmail did not stop him from having healthy sexual relationships.
“After that, I got to have some healthy sexual relations and have girls that I liked and liked me, and we slowly got intimate, and it was beautiful and clumsy and all those things, but it wasn’t ugly like that was,” he said.
The actor noted that he never sought therapy to help cope with the traumatic events, but he had supportive people, including mentors, friends and elders, around him to help him heal.
In his autobiography, McConaughey touched on the abusive relationship his parents had and that his mother, Kay McConaughey, would “bang” his father on his head, which led to him breaking her finger. Even being raised around that toxicity, he said that both of his parents were “great.”
His father, James McConaughey, died in 1992, and his mother has been living with him and his wife, Camila Alves, since the coronavirus pandemic hit.
McConaughey said that at a very early age he was taught by both of his parents about “respect, relationships, sexual intimacy and respect for space.”
“My dad sat me down, talking the birds and the bees. ‘You’re getting that age, you kiss?’ and I said, ‘Yes, sir,’” he recalled. McConaughey said that from an early age his father taught him about the importance of consent in sexual relationships.
“And so he goes, and he’s talking to me, he says, ‘Son, as a male in the situation,’ speaking to me about a heterosexual relationship, ‘If you ever feel the girl, the female, hesitate, stop,’” McConaughey recalled. “He even said this, he goes, ‘You may even feel them hesitate, and then after you stop, they may go, “Oh, no, no, come on. Don’t. Wait till next time.”‘ And he was right, I got in certain senses where it was like, ‘No, no, no, OK, I’m out.’ And saying, ‘OK, cool. I’m out.’”
“Greenlights” was the first time McConaughey spoke about the sexual assaults he faced during his childhood. He explained to de Cadenet that he chose not to share too many details around the two incidents because that was not the purpose of his autobiography.
Now, McConaughey, 52, shares three children with his wife, Camila: Levi, 14, Vida, 12, and Livingston, 9. The couple wed in 2012.
If you or someone you know is suffering from abuse, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.