Matthew McConaughey found the road to stardom to be quite bumpy after the 1996 film A Time To Kill made him a hot property in Hollywood. And as he was trying to navigate his new fame, he found a surprising obstacle in his way: his mother, Kay McConaughey.
The mother-son duo got real in a new episode of the Facebook Watch series Red Table Talk, where the actor revealed that his mother’s “loose lips” to the tabloid media caused an eight-year rift between them.
“Mother wasn’t answering the phone. A fan of my fame was answering the phone,” he says to hosts Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, and Adrienne Banfield Norris. “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.”
A tipping point came when Kay invited Hard Copy into his childhood home and shared relationship details. Matthew was tipped off to the show by a friend, and called up his mom — only to hear “the same damn show in the background” during their phone call. She responded, “Oh that… I didn’t think you’d find out.”
The Oscar winner realized he had to protect himself from his mother because she was not a guardian of his private thoughts and feelings.
“There were years there where I would not share things with her because I was also finding my own balance,” he explains about putting his well-being first. “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.'”
“I was not able to talk to her as my mom for about eight years,” he continued, before revealing what helped their relationship heal: “And then I got my career stabilized enough, my boat was built well enough where I didn’t feel like she could sink it, and then I just took the reins off and said, ‘Mom, hit that red carpet, talk to all of ’em, tell ’em all the stories you want — and she’s been great ever since.”
Jada’s mom, Adrienne Banfield Norris, related to Kay’s situation and the “proud” parental moments that come from a child’s success, while also gently reminding Kay that “we also don’t understand that it’s such hard work for them and also being in the spotlight all the time.”
Today, both McConaughey mama and son can laugh about it, and Kay has been spending quality time with her son, daughter-in-law Camila Alves, and their three kids, Levi, 12, Vida, 10, and Livingston, 7, during the pandemic. He’s also honoring her in his memoir, Greenlights, where he recognizes how her motherly instincts helped him become successful in Hollywood.
“Mom prepared me to be an actor long before my first audition,” he recently told the Wall Street Journal. “She’d say, ‘You don’t walk into a room like you want to buy the place. You walk in like you own it.’“
There’s nothing better than strong mother-son bond — and there’s nothing more powerful than forgiveness even when it’s under the hot spotlight of fame.
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Before you go, click here to see celebrities who have opened up about their estranged family.