Matthew McConaughey has opened up about his harrowing experience when he was molested and blackmailed as a teenager.
The actor, 52, appeared on Amanda de Cadenet’s The conversation: about the men podcast this week to delve deeper into the stories he revealed earlier in his book Green light.
In the podcast, he spoke to the Cadenet about being blackmailed into having sex as a teenager, then drugged and molested by a man when he was just 18.
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McConaughey said in both cases he knew something was wrong because of the things his parents had taught him about sex and intimacy growing up.
“Well, I had learned, guided by my parents, about respect for a woman, respect for the relationship, respect for sexual intimacy, respect for space,” McConaughey explained.
McConaughey says his father sat him down to give him a talk about consent at the same time as his first “birds and the bees” talk.
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“He said to me, ‘Son, if a guy in the situation, if you ever feel the girl hesitate, stop.'”
“He even said this, he says, ‘You can even feel them hesitate, and then if you stop, they might go, oh no, no, come on. Don’t. Wait until next time.'”
“And he was right, I kind of got where it was like, ‘No, no, no. OK, I’m out.’ And say, “Okay, cool. I’m gone.” The girl said, “Oh, well, no, come on.” And I was like, ‘No, no, no.’ He said, ‘Trust that you will have another day, if it must be so.'”
The Dallas Buyers Club actor says that thanks to such lessons, he had a very clear idea of what a healthy relationship and interaction should look like. That’s how, he says, he immediately felt it wasn’t right at all to be blackmailed into sex at age 15.
“After that I got some healthy sexual relationships and got girls that I liked and I liked, and slowly we got intimate and it was beautiful and awkward, and all that stuff, but it wasn’t ugly like that,” he continued.
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Just three years after being blackmailed into sex, the actor was molested at the age of 18.
In his book he has wrote that he was “harassed by a man when I was 18 while he was knocked unconscious in the back of a van”.
The actor admits he didn’t go to therapy to discuss either incident, but thanks the people in his life for giving him the support he needs.
“I’ve had very good friends. I’ve had good mentors,” he said.
“I never stopped believing in the things my mom and dad taught me as I found out, ‘Oh, maybe they were hypocritical about what they were learning and what they were actually doing,'” McConaughey added.
He also told host de Cadenet that he refuses to let what happened to him as a teenager affect his later relationships.
“I’m not going to 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 continue – and I won’t let it Beat me. I go, ‘I won’t let that defeat my trust in people and say, ‘No, I can have a healthy relationship.’ Non-negotiable No,” he insisted.
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“I’m not denying it happened,” he insisted.
“I choose, [sic] non-negotiable, I’m not going to carry that, take 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 can take,” he said.
McConaughey’s memoirs, published in 2020, go into detail about aspects of his life and career. He discusses how he cut off his own mother after she leaked information about him to the press, his time as an exchange student in Australia, how he nearly left Hollywood and his relationship with his wife Camila Alves.
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault and needs support, please call: 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732), the National Sexual Assault Domestic Family Violence Service. You can also contact lifeline (13 11 14).
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