As he took to the stage after being named the 2018 Inspiration Honoree at the Third Annual City Gala on Sunday evening, Matthew McConaughey sweetly paid tribute to his gorgeous wife of five years, Camila Alves.
The actor, who came straight from presenting Dunkirk’s Lee Smith with the Best Editing award at the 2018 Oscars, didn't hesitate to salute his love of more than 10 years after accepting the award.
“The biggest thing I’m grateful for right now in my life is three healthy children and a wife who doesn’t want to change me,” McConaughey gushed, after walking the red carpet at Universal Studios, Hollywood, with Camila by his side in a gorgeous white Vivienne Westwood gown. “Thank you, Camila. That’s something to be thankful for, right? There’s nobody else I’d rather be here with.”
McConaughey was presented with the award by City Summit founder Ryan Long in recognition of his work with the just keep livin Foundation, an organization he and Camila founded in 2015, which aims to empower high school students with the tools to lead active lives and make healthy choices for their future.
Their work includes helping students achieve fitness goals like getting in shape to try out for the soccer team, nutrition goals like losing weight to fit into a dream prom dress, teaching families how to eat healthier and simply providing a safe place for youngsters to go after school.
Looking dapper in a black tux and red-heeled shoes to match his red bow tie, the 48-year-old Oscar winner relived the heartbreaking moment which planted the seed for the foundation’s creation.
“In 1992, I’m five days into my first film, Dazed and Confused,” he explained during a Q&A following his acceptance speech. “I get a call from my mother one night saying, ‘Matt, your dad’s passed away. I went home immediately, was home for two days, we had the wake, we had the party, we had the tears, and then my family said, ‘Go get back to work.”
“I was trying to figure out how I maintain a relationship with my father spiritually, even though physically he’s no longer here and it hit me one night,” he continued. “I didn’t come up with it -- it came from up above and said, ‘Well, you keep the spirit alive, man. You gotta just keep livin.'' So, I was like, OK, there it is. I’ve lost him physically, but I still spiritually have a connection with him and can talk to him anytime I want to and that’s where, ‘Just keep livin' came from.”
The Texas native started applying the phrase to all aspects of his life, named his foundation after it and now puts the motto on everything, “from T-shirts and dog bowls to wrist bands!”
Proudly sharing how 98% of students participating in the foundation’s curriculum graduated from high school last year, McConaughey also said it was an honor to be named an inspiration.
“I like that title and if it’s just one person who went, ‘You know what? Maybe I can try something else that I didn’t have the courage to do yesterday,’ I say thank you to them. It is an honor to receive this.”
The glitzy gala marked the final day of the Third Annual City Summit, which brings together leaders and philanthropists to network, inspire and help support humanitarian efforts.
Actor Ashton Kutcher was a keynote speaker at Saturday’s event, where, like McConaughey, he gushed about his wife, Mila Kunis.
“The number one thing I work on in the entire world is my relationship with my wife and my relationship with my kids,” Kutcher shared, before declaring that marrying Kunis was his greatest achievement in life.
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