Matthew McConaughey and His Mom Address Their 'Rough Patch' on 'Red Table Talk' (Exclusive)
By Antoinette Bueno
Matthew McConaughey and his mother, Mary, can now laugh at a time when their relationship wasn't so great.
In this exclusive clip from Tuesday's Red Table Talk, McConaughey and his mom speak to Jada Pinkett Smith and her 20-year-old daughter, Willow, as well as the actress' mom, Adrienne Banfield-Jones. McConaughey and his mom reflect on the ups and downs of their relationship, including when he stopped talking to her for eight years because he says she was too much a fan of his fame.
"[My mom] and I had a rough patch about eight years after I got famous, but we healed that up back in 2004," he says. "As soon as I got famous after A Time to Kill, I started having my weekly Sunday call home to call my mother. Mother wasn't answering the phone -- a fan of my fame was answering the phone. I was trying to find my own balance with fame and stuff, and I would share things with her and, you know, to whatever amount of innocence it was -- we can now completely laugh at it -- but some of the things I would share might show up in the six o’clock news three days later."
McConaughey went on to talk about his mom speaking to the press about him.
"For instance, coming home at my beach house, I got a buddy that calls me saying, 'Are you watching this? Put on Channel 4,' or whatever it was, it was Hard Copy or whatever, and here is a camera going through our bedroom," he recalls. "Mom is leading the camera saying, "And here's the bedroom where I caught him with Michelle... no big deal because she didn't last. Over here's the bathroom, of course I walked in on him in there and caught him doing you know what before.' And I’m over here going, ‘Holy sh*t, Mom!' I call her up and of course she’s watching it too, so I pick up the phone and I hear the same show in the background. I go, ‘Mom!' [and she says] ‘What are you talking about?’ I go, 'What do you mean, what am I talking about? I'm watching the same damn thing you are. You got Hard Copy in my bedroom!' She goes, 'Oh that...I didn't think you’d find out.'"
Mary acknowledged that the story was true, but McConaughey says he eventually got to a point where he didn't mind his mother talking publicly about him.
“So there were years there that I would not share things with her because I was finding my own balance, building my own ship and I was like, 'Look, Mom. Loose lips will sink ships. There are a lot of people that would like to know these things and it's none of their business,'" McConaughey shares. "I was not able to talk to her as my mom for about eight years and then I got my career stabilized enough. My boat was built well enough that I didn't think she could sink it and then I just took the reins off and said, 'Mom, hit that red carpet. Talk to all of them, tell them all the stories you want' and she’s been great about it since."
Later, McConaughey and his mom discussed her at times volatile relationship with his late father, whom she actually married three times after they divorced twice. He died in 1992.
"You know how he died, don't you? My husband died making love to me," she says. "And I remember saying when he fell back, I said, 'What's the matter, big boy? I wear you out?’ And he's [giving] no response, no response and I'm thinking, 'Oh my god, something's wrong.' … I had no idea that it was too much. His heart just stopped, you know? We had a party for him, kind of a celebration of his life.”
"Yeah, and my oldest son said, 'Bunch of you sons of b*tches out there [would] give 10 years of your life to go the way my pop did!'" she continues.
McConaughey wasn't afraid to discuss his complicated childhood in his new memoir, Greenlights, including describing his parents' relationship as toxic. However, the actor and his mom are clearly still on good terms. Last month, McConaughey's wife, Camila Alves, Instagrammed a picture of the two together, holding up a copy of his book.
"This has some real life to it that they need to be older," he explained. "Look, it's like a lot of the films I've done or TV, they're not ready to see Dallas Buyers Club, they're not ready to see True Detective. You know, they've seen very few of my films. It would confuse them in ways they do not need to be confused because they're not old enough to understand the context of that situation in life. I think when it's time for them to read it, I'm very excited about it, that they know me well enough and they'll go, 'wow,' but not judge me any differently -- just see me as more, 'Wow, that's a lot of things that Papa was doing before we were ever even in this world. There's a lot Papa was doing when he went away to work each day, what a full-life Dad led.'"