Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey recently wrote a memoir named Greenlights that detailed various personal events from his life. One of the most shocking sections in the book was also one of the shortest when McConaughey mentioned being blackmailed into having sex at the age of 15 and getting molested by a man while knocked out unconscious in the back of a van when he was 18. The two incidents are not elaborated on further in the book, and during a recent interview, McConaughey explained why.
"Ultimately, there's nothing that I feel is constructive about the details. I feel like those details, unless I had a really good constructive way that I saw it that could be relatable to other people, I felt like those details could have just been grabbed and reported for voyeurism. They could've been the thing that every single show was going to go 'Read about the details of when Matthew was molested,' or 'Read about when he got blackmailed,' and that's the wrong headline. Because I also write in the book I've never felt like a victim...yes was I victimized in those two situations? Sure. But that doesn't mean that I've carried on through my life the feeling of 'oh I was victimized,' or 'oh I was a victim,' or that those two unfortunate events have turned me into the man that I am or are even an excuse."
The issue of sexual assault is one that has been thrown into sharper focus in Hollywood in recent years, with the MeToo movement. While the movement focussed mainly on women, a few men have also come forward with their own stories of suffering from sexual assault like actor Terry Crews.
For his part, McConaughey believes that the fact that he was old enough to understand the seriousness of the crime that was committed against him allowed him to come to terms with the two incidents in a relatively healthy manner.
"Those two events happened to me at 15 and 18. If they would've happened to me younger...maybe I would've been more confused. But when they happened to me, it was very clear to me, that they were wrong, that they were not ideal, that they were not how it's supposed to be. So I think having that clarity means that it's probably why it didn't stick with me and confuse me later on or left me having a non-realistic view of the way the world is supposed to work."
While coming to terms with the reality of having suffered an assault is an important step, healing from the effects of the assault, both mental and physical, and moving on is the next crucial step in the process. It seems McConaughey was able to reach that step on his own, and thus felt comfortable putting the incidents behind him.
On the work front, the Oscar-winner has been taking a break from movies in recent times, explaining that he "looked at a couple of scripts, but [there is] nothing that is moving me out of my chair to go, 'I'm going to quit doing this and go make a movie."