His mother got swayed away by McConaughey's fame and crossed some boundaries that cost her their relationship.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on November 25, 2020. It has since been updated.
Matthew McConaughey has always portrayed himself as a family man who adores his loved ones more than anything in his life. When a man like him admits that there was a time when he did not speak to his mother Kay for eight long years, the reason for the estrangement would have had to be serious. The issues between him and his mom began when the How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days star started becoming a trusted name in Hollywood during the 1990s. It is during this time that the actor felt that his mother, Mary Kathleen “Kay” McConaughey had violated his trust.
In the mother and son's first joint interview on Facebook Watch's popular show, Red Table Talks with hosts Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, and Adrienne Banfield Norris, the duo spoke about their rift. Right after 1993’s Dazed and Confused, Matthew became an A-lister with his role in A Time to Kill and the fame that came along with it affected Kay more than him.
The 52-year-old actor said, "As soon as I got 'famous' after [1996's] A Time to Kill, I started to have my weekly Sunday call home to call my mother." But without Matthew's knowledge, some things had changed back home. "Mother wasn’t answering the phone. A fan of my fame was answering the phone," he added, as reported by Today. With Kay right next to him, Matthew recalled, "I was trying to find my own balance with fame and stuff. And I would share things with her... some of those things I would share might show up in the six o’clock news three days later."
He said that Kay started sharing too much with the media which made the actor uncomfortable. While promoting his memoir Greenlights on The Howard Stern Show, Matthew told Stern that things got out of hand when he saw his childhood home on the show Hard Copy as Kay revealed really intimate things.
He said, “There’s mom giving somebody a tour through the house. 'Here’s where I caught him with so and so in bed. Here’s where I saw him in the shower. You know what he’s doing in there,’” reported EW.
When the Dallas Buyers Club actor tried confronting Kay, she denied it. “I call her up and I go, ‘Mom, what’d you do?’” Matthew said and continued, “She goes, ‘What are you talking about?’ I go, ‘Hard Copy.’ She goes, ‘What are you talking about?’ I go, ‘Mom, I can hear it on the other end of the phone. I’m watching it. You’re watching it too.’ She goes, ‘Oh, that. I didn’t think you’d find out.’ I’m like, ‘It’s national television, Mom.’”
Matthew clarified that during the eight years, they didn't stop their communication completely, but he kept things that were personal, to himself. He said, “We talked but I really watched what I said to her. I just tried to bide my time. It was a sad time."
"I remember talking to my brothers going, ‘I have these five-minute conversations with mom on Sunday when I’ll call her, I just really listen and barely say anything. I don’t feel like she’s getting to know me or I’m getting to know her any better.’ It was tough for eight years but we went through it and we’re on the other side of it,” he added. Talking to Smith on the Red Table Talks, Matthew revealed, "There were years there where I would not share things with her because I was, you know, again, finding my own balance. I was like, 'Look, mom, loose lips will sink ships. There are a lot of people that would like to know these things and it's none of their business.'" He added, "I was not able to talk to her as my mom for about eight years."
88-year-old Kay, echoing her son's views, admitted to "enjoying his fame more than he was." However, the pair have now reconciled as she has realized that Matthew has certain boundaries that need to be respected. After eight years, now that the Interstellar actor has found the "balance" in his life that he was searching for initially, he said, "My boat was built well enough where I didn’t feel like she could sink it. I just took the reins off, and said, 'Mom, hit that red carpet, talk to all of 'em, and tell them all the stories you want. And she's been great about it ever since."
Kay has been staying with her son, his wife, Camila Alves, 38, and their three kids: Levi, 12, Vida, 10, and Livingston, 7, and she can't help gush about her perfect life. She said, "It's been really, really lovely. I'm enjoying so much being around my grandchildren. I'm very comfortable with them. Matthew is a very good son. I tell him that all the time. He's good to me."