Matthew McConaughey has revealed that he experienced multiple instances of sexual abuse prior to adulthood.
In his new memoir Greenlights, the Oscar-winning actor opens with a series of disjointed but formative life experiences—something that serves to “help set the table” before he dives into more detailed stories. Some will break your heart (“I got whipped until my butt bled for putting on a Cracker Jack tattoo when I was ten”); others will warm it (“The only thing I ever knew I wanted to be was a father.”) But two confessions are particularly shocking.
Without explanation, he simply writes, “I was blackmailed into having sex for the first time when I was fifteen. I was certain I was going to hell for the premarital sex. Today, I am merely certain that I hope that’s not the case.”
Elsewhere, he adds, “I was molested by a man when I was eighteen while knocked unconscious in the back of a van.”
McConaughey describes the incidents as scars he earned in the “rodeo of humanity,” but is careful to add, “I’ve never felt like a victim. I have a lot of proof that the world is conspiring to make me happy.”
We give McConaughey credit for sharing his traumas; at the same time, we honor his decision to keep the specifics private. After all, they’re just one of many moments in an otherwise rich and vibrant life story. From the up and down relationship of his parents to getting his big break in Hollywood to finally settling down with his now wife Camila Alves, Greenlights offers an intriguing deep dive into the wild ride that is Matthew McConaughey’s life.