The Truth Behind Matthew McConaughey’s Marriage – And How The Actor Really Felt When He Met His Wife

Successful actor, Oscar winner and one-time Sexiest Man Alive, it’s safe to say that Matthew McConaughey has had an interesting career. Known for movies such as Dazed and Confused, Dallas Buyers Club, Interstellar and A Time To Kill, the Hollywood heartthrob married Brazilian model Camila Alves in 2012. But the path towards their marriage was far from conventional.

Born in Texas and voted “most handsome student” in high school, it’s perhaps no surprise that Matthew McConaughey became a rom-com star. Yes, and his affable Southern charm, laid-back demeanour and aptitude for comedy made him a natural leading man. And audiences for the most part agreed.

So covering around a decade, the star first appeared as a romantic lead in 2001’s The Wedding Planner. Starring opposite Jennifer Lopez, the movie grossed an incredible $95 million on a $28 million budget. And that’s despite reviews like the one from Empire magazine that year, “Lopez looks beautiful …McConaughey flashes that handsome grin and gives it his all. You really want to like this film… But you just can’t.”

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Next came 2003’s How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, alongside Kate Hudson. The plot involved McConaughey’s ad exec betting that he can make a woman fall for him in just ten days. But Hudson’s character is writing an article about how to make a man leave in the same amount of time. As you can imagine, romantic hilarity ensues and the audiences loved it. Indeed, box office takings more than tripled the movie’s budget.

With McConaughey’s rom-com leading man credentials fully realized, his next foray into the genre wouldn’t come for another three years. Yes, Failure to Launch was released in 2006, but this movie was slightly different to the others. Admittedly, the star and his leading lady, Sarah Jessica Parker, do get together in the end. However, the premise that leads audiences there isn’t your usual mainstream fare.

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Indeed, the plot involves the hiring of Parker’s character to essentially pretend to be McConaughey’s girlfriend, all in the hopes of making him move out of his parents’ house. Yes, the 30-something yacht salesman still lives with his parents, who desperately want him to leave. So they pay a woman to help get rid of their son by giving him a taste of adulthood. Now, cinema-goers loved it, but it proved to be one of the star’s last rom-coms.

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Yes, because three years later came the final movie in McConaughey’s rom-com period, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. And just a year before that he’d done another, Fool’s Gold where he reunited with Kate Hudson. Now, the film was relatively successful, but some critics weren’t impressed. For instance, Empire’s review said, “Absolute tosh. A ridiculous, unerringly tedious plot.”

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Despite the critical mauling, fans loved McConaughey’s output so much that he was voted “Sexiest Man Alive” by readers of People magazine in 2005. Often shirtless on screen, the actor’s talents were often a poor second to a glittering torso. And while he spent a portion of his career in rom-coms, the star’s roles both before and after that period have been un-romantic.

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That’s right, McConaughey’s first movie role, in cult classic Dazed and Confused, immediately put him on the map. Playing Wooderson, a laid-back state employee with a philosophical outlook, arguably made him an icon. And clearly director Richard Linklater had the same reaction.

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You see, the role was originally intended to just be a few lines, but the director expanded the character to give McConaughey more screen time. And the movie also gave us his iconic catch-phrase, “Alright, Alright, Alright.” In fact, the name of the actor’s foundation, Just Keep Livin’, was inspired by Wooderson’s dialogue in Dazed and Confused. It also launched him on a path to Hollywood megastardom.

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Yes, three years after the release of Dazed and Confused, McConaughey landed his first leading man role. A Time to Kill saw him playing a lawyer defending a black man fighting a murder charge in the deep south, alongside Samuel L. Jackson and Sandra Bullock. And it became a hit, with box office takings of over $100 million in America alone.

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From there, the actor worked with not one, but two, critically acclaimed directors. Indeed, first came Robert Zemeckis’ Contact which saw McConaughey starring alongside acting legend Jodie Foster. Then came a role in slave-era drama Amistad for Steven Spielberg. Both pictures were critical and box office successes. And these hits helped the actor to move into the lucrative rom-com genre years later.

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Following McConaughey’s rom-com period, the actor moved seamlessly between two genres. The first, pure comedy, includes his hilarious turn as a talent agent extraordinaire in 2008’s Tropic Thunder, and playing a stripping mentor in 2012’s Magic Mike. And both movies made serious money, and the critics loved them. But in between those films, the star managed to move into gritty thrillers.

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Starting with 2011’s The Lincoln Lawyer, based on the best-selling Michael Connelly novel, McConaughey once again played an attorney, but one that does business from the back of his car. Yes, he was as shady as that sounds. Anyway, one of the actor’s next roles stayed along these new lines, as we’ll soon find out.

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Yes, the 2011 movie Killer Joe kicked off what has been described by some as the “McConaissance.” Indeed, his turn as a paid-for killer in the William Friedkin-directed flick was the first in a string of roles so good as to constitute an artistic rebirth for the star. For that part alone he was nominated for a total of five Best Actor accolades. And it only got better from there.

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For you see, McConaughey produced an incredible performance in the 2013 award-winning film Dallas Buyers Club. Playing a cowboy suffering from AIDS in this 1980s based movie, the star lost over 40lbs in preparation for the role. And audiences, critics and the Academy all agreed that his portrayal of Ron Woodruff, based on real-life events, was a career-high.

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As a result, McConaughey won both an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Best Actor. Having taken possession of his first Academy Award, he then made an unexpected turn. Yes, True Detective, a gritty, hard-hitting crime drama, aired on HBO the same year. Appearing in and executive producing the series gave the star more room to flex his not-inconsiderable acting muscles.

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Playing tortured detective Rust Cohle, the first series centered around a serial killer in the deep south. Brooding, atmospheric and absolutely compelling, McConaughey’s character suffered for every victim, including his daughter. In fact, so good was the star’s portrayal of the law-enforcement agent suffering an emotional crisis, that the Emmys nominated him for Best Actor.

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In addition to winning an Oscar and debuting on TV, 2014 also brought McConaughey a different kind of accolade. That year, Time magazine put him on their list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. And to top off a fantastic 12 months, the actor also starred in Christopher Nolan’s smash-hit sci-fi flick Interstellar.

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From there, McConaughey made the acclaimed Free State of Jones in 2016, playing a confederate soldier who has a change of heart. Also, the actor made his animation debut that year, voicing not one, but two cartoon characters. Starting with Beetle on Kubo and the Two Strings, he finished out the year with the box-office smash Sing.

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And the McConaissance continued in the latter part of the 2010s, including Guy Ritchie’s cannabis caper comedy The Gentlemen. Clearly, Hollywood has very much enjoyed the actor’s new attitude to work. But McConaughey apparently credits this career resurgence to just one thing. It’s all down to falling in love.

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You see, McConaughey met Camila Alves in 2006. A Brazilian-American model and TV presenter, she just happened to be at the same club as the actor one night that summer. Now, the story of their initial meeting is one that McConaughey recalls with relish. And it all began with margaritas.

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Talking to People TV in 2017, McConaughey explained, “I’m not a club guy. But this night I was a club guy.” At a nightspot on Los Angeles’ Sunset Boulevard, the star was making cocktails at the table. “I can make a good margarita. Out of the corner of my eye, this sort of aqua-green figure went sort of floating across the frame about 20 feet in front of me.”

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According to the actor, his reaction to the figure was, “What is that? ‘That’ went and sat down and I tried to get ‘That’s’ attention. And as I was trying to get ‘That’s’ attention across the room, it went in my head, I was like, ‘This isn’t the kind of woman you call over across the room, McConaughey, get your ass out of the chair and go get her.’ Which I did.”

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As McConaughey told People magazine, “I went over and asked [Alves] ‒ and her friends ‒ to come sit down.” The actor then shared some, in his opinion, valuable advice for men. “Every man should know [inviting the friends over] is a good thing to do. That’s the way they’ll come over on their own, which she did.”

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After cocktails, McConaughey invited Alves back to his Hollywood home, along with some of his friends. Interestingly, the model spent the night alone in his spare room, although that wasn’t for lack of trying on the actor’s part. And in 2017 he confessed to radio personality Howard Stern, “I did sneak down to the guest bedroom twice that night and got booted out.”

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The next morning, the actor awoke to laughter coming from his kitchen. In fact, Alvez and his friends were all having breakfast together. He told People magazine, “That’s a woman who knows herself. That’s a woman who’s comfortable.” From there, the pair went on a date, and the actor praised, “the self-respect she had for herself, the way I understood her and her relationship with family.”

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Despite this turn of events, McConaughey has since claimed that at the time he met Alves, he wasn’t looking for a relationship. As he told People in 2017, “I was not looking, I was very happily single—and healthily single. I was sleeping well, I was spiritually sound, I was good with hangin’ with me.” To add to that, summer 2006 was already great for the A-lister long before meeting his future wife.

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The star went on, “It was one of those summers where every day was just like another green light. [Me and my buddies] were getting work done, but were playing hard. We were staying in shape, I was getting along with my family fine, my friends were all doing good.”

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McConaughey continued, “It was one of those good summers where I wished it would just keep going.” But, as the actor explained, meeting Alves meant more than just a continuation of a good spell in his life. Even so, the circumstances certainly had helped matters. “[It’s] got to be the right person, but it has to be the right time. I could’ve met her 15 years ago and it wouldn’t have [worked out].”

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The actor explained, “It was the right time for me. I said the next night after that, I want to go out on another date. The next night after that, I wanted to go on another date. And I’ve been wanting to go on a date with her for the last nine years. And not with anybody else.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, the relationship got stronger from there.

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Yes, the couple welcomed their first baby, son Levi, in 2008, followed by daughter Vida in 2010. Despite starting a family, however, McConaughey and Alves didn’t get married. And the actor was often asked why in interviews, to which he would simply reply, “Nobody’s business.” But he didn’t remain silent for that long.

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Indeed, the actor later revealed exactly why the couple hadn’t made it official. McConaughey told GQ magazine in 2014, “I had to get to get to the point where it was more than just the thing to do. I didn’t want it to be the destination, the fun is that we’re on the adventure together.”

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Eventually, though, McConaughey came around to the idea after Alves “handed me the invitation to our wedding.” As he told People magazine, “It took her going, ‘C’mon big boy, Mr. Easy-going-we’ll-get-to-it, either s*** or get off the pot.’” So the star finally popped the question on Christmas Eve 2011.

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And the couple married six months later, in a private ceremony in Texas. In what sounds like a touching event, the pair whispered their vows to each other to keep them private and included their kids in the proceedings. For example, son Levi was the ring bearer, daughter Vida the flower girl and even their still-gestating third child was in attendance. Yes, Alves, it appears, was pregnant at the time. Second son Livingston came into the world in December 2012.

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So it was McConaughey and Alves’ relationship, coupled with having a family, that led to the McConaissance. The actor explained his thinking at the time to Stern, “My work is not challenging, it’s not near as exciting as my life! Let’s take some time out to maybe find some work that scares me or turns me on as much as my life’s turning me on.” As a result, he started turning down movie offers.

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The actor went on, “We hunkered down, had our first child — that sure helped me get through the days! That’s a lot to work on. And then I’d say, in that time, I un-branded.” And according to Alves, that career switch made a big difference at home.

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As Alves told Esquire magazine after the release of Dallas Buyers Club, “It changed [McConaughey’s] sense of humor, but in a good way. He started to cook more for us and that was more fun.” But with three kids and two working parents, keeping the romance alive can be hard. The model, though, had some advice on that front.

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Talking to the Us Weekly YouTube channel, Alves said, “It’s important to always remember that you and your husband came first. So that relationship needs to be nourished.” And for her family, that involved spending time together. “It’s a lot of staying at home, cooking together… Or getting a hotel room that’s ten minutes away from the house.” For McConaughey, though, marriage has had an enduring effect on him.

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As the actor revealed to GQ magazine, “If anything, the more secure I feel at home, the more I feel like I’m able to fly.” Indeed, a year earlier, Playboy magazine interviewed the actor. And his affirmation of commitment echoed around the world.“I have been very faithful with my wife, very selfishly. I like being under her spell. I don’t want to break that spell.”

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