McConaughey spoke about his teenage years, the abuse he faced, and more on 'The Conversation: About the Men' podcast.
Matthew McConaughey is getting candid about his past. In a new interview on Amanda de Cadenet's The Conversation: About the Men podcast, McConaughey spoke about being blackmailed into having sex as a teenager and being drugged and molested by a man when he was 18, something he's previously spoken about in his book, Greenlights. While he wouldn't go into too much detail about either incident, he said he knew that something was wrong -- in both situations -- based on the guidance he received from his parents.
In talking to de Cadenet, McConaughey recalled the first time he learned about consent, and what his father taught him about sex and sexual intimacy.
"Well, I had been taught, been guided by my parents about respect for a woman, respect for the relationship, respect for sexual intimacy, respect for space," McConaughey said. "My dad had always had this thing when he taught us the birds and the bees, he sat me down talking the birds and the bees, he said, 'You're getting that age you kiss?' and I said, 'Yes, sir.' And he goes, 'Well, it's gonna go further than that one day. It's probably gonna go to where you're gonna get intimate and there's gonna be the breast, and there's gonna be below the belt.' I'm paraphrasing, and he goes, 'It's gonna happen to you as well.'"
He continued, "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.' 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.' The girl went, 'Oh, well, no, come on.' And I was like, 'No, no, no.' He said, 'Trust you'll have another day, if it is to be.'"
McConaughey said, thanks to lessons like those, he was very clear about what a healthy sexual relationship was and what wasn't, and felt right away, that being blackmailed into sex at 15 wasn't right at all.
"But I was very clear, again, that was not right, that was not cool, that was not the way it is," he maintained. "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."
When he was molested years later, at 18, the Dallas Buyers Club star said he didn't make the connection between the two incidents until much later on.
"I didn't connect 'em," McConaughey shared.
While the 52-year-old actor has admittedly not gone to therapy to work past the trauma he's faced, he said he's had a lot of people in his life that have helped him through it.
"I've had very good friends. I've had good mentors. I've had elder men, elder women, married couples, that pulled it off -- from celebrating 50-year anniversaries, that have taken the time to sit with me. My father and mother, you know, where the messenger and the message did not meet, is revealed a lot of times when we lose a father," he said, before sharing that sometimes he found his parents' advice and way of doing things to be hypocritical.
"I never quit believing in the things my mom and dad were teaching me in the middle of finding out, 'Oh, maybe they were hypocritical about what they were teaching and what they were actually doing,'" McConaughey added.
While everyone has different responses to trauma, McConaughey said he didn't have the "option" to dwell on it, telling de Cadanet that he loves life too much and believes in people too much to go through life afraid because of the hurtful, harmful or violent things that happened to him.
"I'm not gonna be afraid of relationships because my first experience was blackmail. Uh uh. That's an aberration. No, no. That's not the way it is. And if I go on -- and I'm not gonna let it beat me. I'm going, 'I'm not gonna let that beat my sense of trust in people and say, 'No, I can have a healthy relationship.' Non-negotiable. No," he insisted.
McConaughey continued, "Happened. Am I denying that it happened? No. I'm not denying that it happened. Ugly. Ugh. I still get, even telling you this story, I get -- but am I gonna carry that? I chose, non-negotiably, 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."