An all-American Texan in Hollywood.
Sexy, suave, successful. All words that come to mind when describing 47-year-old Texan superstar, Matthew McConaughey. Named People’s Sexiest Man Alive in 2005, McConaughey exudes a strong magnetism that attracts all eyes to him. And, as it turns out, his background adds to his enticing demeanor. McConaughey is the golden standard––a Texas-born all American boy living the American dream.
McConaughey was born in 1969 in Uvalde, Texas. Born the youngest of three boys, little Matthew was raised by his mother, Mary, a former kindergarten teacher, and his father, the owner of an oil pipe supply business. Little known fact: his dad Jim was once drafted to the Green Bay Packers, but was released before the season began. That was the start and end of his NFL career. Another tidbit: McConaughey’s parents married one another three times after divorcing twice.
McConaughey, a Delta Tau Delta frat boy, had once planned on attending law school, but instead got his degree in radio-television-film from the University of Texas at Austin. His first notable gig came after graduating college, when he co-starred in 1993’s Dazed and Confused. This appearance was followed by small roles in Angels in the Outfield, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, and Boys on the Side. But his big break was in the 1996 flick, A Time to Kill, based on the John Grisham novel of the same name. His co-actors included Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, and Kevin Spacey.
McConaughey’s road to stardom came with plenty of press and a growing fan base. He made the cover of Vanity Fair in 1996, scoring big time clout with his famous colleagues. And, he was soon to emerge as the manly king of chick flicks.
In 2001, McConaughey starred in The Wedding Planner alongside Jennifer Lopez, followed by How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003) with Kate Hudson. Both movies won the hearts of female viewers. But this lady’s man was soon swept away by a female heartthrob, Penelope Cruz, after the two joined forces in 2005’s Sahara.
But that didn’t last forever.
In fact, right before his 2008 movie, Fool’s Gold, was released, McConaughey made a very special announcement––he was going to become a dad. And on July 7, 2008, he and then-girlfriend Camila Alves gave birth to Levi Alves McConaughey.
“Fatherhood is the one thing I’ve always wanted to be,” McConaughey once told E! online. “Never is a man more of a man than when he is the father of a newborn; you know what’s important. I definitely got more selfish. And at the same time, I think I got more compassionate.”
Queue the swooning.
However, while dad became McConaughey’s main role, he still maintained evolving his acting career.
The same year of Levi’s birth, Matthew appeared in the 2008 comedy Tropic Thunder—taking over the part for Owen Wilson—alongside Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and Robert Downey Jr. This was followed by his 2009 role in The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past with Jennifer Garner and Michael Douglas. After taking a break in 2010, McConaughey starred in The Lincoln Lawyer followed by the drama Mud (2012). The film garnered both critical and commercial acclaim. But many women would argue his most delightfully comedic role was in 2012, joining forces with Channing Tatum in Magic Mike. He played a stripper.
McConaughey went on to reinvent himself, earning a buzz worthy role as Ron Woodruff, the real-life activist who, after being diagnosed with AIDS, advocated for and taking a regime of drugs that mitigated the disease’s effects. His film, Dallas Buyers Club (2013) earned him both an Academy Award and Golden Globe.
“I didn’t grow up acting. I don’t enjoy thespian, Hamlet-ian talks. I was the first frat boy in the University of Texas film school who wore button-down denim shirts, boots, and a buckle when all the Gothic artists were all in black. I went to see the big Hollywood pictures at the cineplex that everyone else in film class shat on. And for a while I thought maybe you really do need to wear all black and stay out of the sunlight and only see independent films to be an artist. I still have moments with acting where I’m like, I’m getting away with it. Winning the Oscar was validation, the respect of my peers,” said McConaughey of the experience to Esquire Magazine’s Maximillian Potter in 2016
He then tackled television, performing in True Detective, a 2014 HBO series that McConaughey starred in and executive produced. He played a dark, unique, philosophical role, resulting in Emmy nominations and being named to Time magazine’s list of 100 Most Influential People in the World.
More recently, McConaughey starred opposite Naomi Watts in the Gus Van Sant drama The Sea of Trees. The following year, he took on the role of real-life Confederate army deserter Newton Knight in Free State of Jones and voiced the character Beetle in the animated film Kubo and the Two Strings.
According to E! online, the good-looking A-lister admittedly keeps a diary (a brown leather journal). He also opened up about wife Camila Alves, whom he tied the knot with in 2012.
McConaughey first spotted Alves in a nightclub on Sunset. According to the aforementioned Esquire article, he was the only one wearing flip-flops with a kerchief wrapped around his head when in comes Alves in a green dress. He was immediately taken by her presence and they started dating, but it would take five years before he asked her to marry him.
“I had to get to the point where I saw it as more than just the thing to do,” he says of marriage. “I wanted to really want to. You know, I didn’t want it to be a destination; the fun is that we’re on the adventure together. So I spent a lot of time with her. We talked about it spiritually.”
The couple now has three children.
In addition to the entertainment business, McConaughey started the Just Keep Livin Foundation, dedicated to helping teenage kids lead active lives and make healthy choices. In 2016, McConaughey received the Creative Conscience award from unite4:humanity for his work.
Of course, there are also the Lincoln car commercials. The A-lister has been featured in the brand’s auto commercials since 2014, and even been parodied on Saturday Night Live for the strangely contemplative spots. The latest one, which debuted last month, features McConaughey enjoying the look (and spaciousness) of a 2017 Lincoln Continental Black Label. “You might never just stand there, looking at it. I mean, you may never even sit in the back seat. That’d be a shame,” he says as the camera focuses on McConaughey comfortably ensconced in the back. Directed by The Dark Knight cinematographer Wally Pfister and filmed in Iceland on a glacial plain, the one-minute spot is sure to get people talking.
And to add to his resume, McConaughey is proactive in education; in fact, he’s teaching classes at the University of Texas, the first session of which was about the filming of the 2016 film Free State of Jones. For the second session, he is partnering with Hunger Games director Gary Ross. Apparently, there are no prerequisites or fees to take the once-a-week course. McConaughey frequently returns to his alma mater to see Longhorns football games.
The all American heartthrob is winning at life––being a dad, husband, philanthropist, teacher, and oh, mega multi-millionaire superstar. His late father would be proud.