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Matthew McConaughey reveals how his father passed away: 'He had a heart attack when he climaxed'


Matthew McConaughey has opened up about the death of his father James, who passed away in 1992.

Ahead of the release of his highly-anticipated memoir, Greenlights, the 50-year-old Oscar winner teased the page-turning contents in this week’s cover story with People. 

Nearly three decades after his dad’s death, the star recalled the moment his ‘knees buckled’ upon learning the devastating news from his mother.  

Open book: Matthew McConaughey opened up about the death of his father James, who passed away in 1992, ahead of the release of his highly-anticipated memoir, Greenlights; seen last January

Open book: Matthew McConaughey opened up about the death of his father James, who passed away in 1992, ahead of the release of his highly-anticipated memoir, Greenlights; seen last January 

‘I couldn’t believe it. He was my dad. Nobody or nothing could kill him,’ he told the outlet. ‘Except mom.’ 

Speaking of his dad, he explained: ‘He’d always told me and my brothers, “Boys, when I go, I’m gonna be makin’ love to your mother.” And that’s what happened. He had a heart attack when he climaxed.’ 

Despite his parent’s passionate romance, he revealed the pair ‘were, at times, violent’ and ‘divorced twice, married three times.’  

Surprised: Nearly three decades after his dad's death, the star recalled the moment his 'knees buckled' upon learning the devastating news from his mother (pictured  in 2014)

Surprised: Nearly three decades after his dad’s death, the star recalled the moment his ‘knees buckled’ upon learning the devastating news from his mother (pictured  in 2014)

‘It was like the Pacific Ocean in a storm,’ he said of mother and father’s on-again, off-again relationship. 

The doting son, who tried to set his mom up with Hugh Grant’s widowed father, 91-year-old James Grant earlier this year, has an entirely different relationship with his wife, Camila Alves. 

During the same interview, McConaughey pointed out, unlike his parents, he ‘can’t remember’ the last time he has raised his voice to Alves, who he wed in 2012.  

Longtime love: McConaughey says, in stark contrast to his parents, he 'can't remember the last time he has raised his voice' to Alves, who he wed in 2012

Longtime love: McConaughey says, in stark contrast to his parents, he ‘can’t remember the last time he has raised his voice’ to Alves, who he wed in 2012

‘It takes a lot for me to explode,’ he continued. ‘I think I do a pretty good job trying to maintain and care for each relationship in my family, well enough, so it doesn’t get to a point where I’m exacerbated or have to raise my voice.

While gushing about the mother of his three children, Levi, 12, Vida, 10, and eight-year-old Livingston, he says they have ‘a love that we never question.’ 

His upcoming memoir will also cover his impressive Hollywood career and now-infamous brush with the law in 1999. 

Happy family: While gushing about the mother of his three children, Levi, 12, Vida, 10, and eight-year-old Livingston, he says they have 'a love that we never question' (seen in 2019)

Happy family: While gushing about the mother of his three children, Levi, 12, Vida, 10, and eight-year-old Livingston, he says they have ‘a love that we never question’ (seen in 2019)

Matthew’s transformation from Hollywood bad boy to family man coincided with his change from starring in fluffy rom coms to hard hitting blockbusters, a move dubbed the ‘McConaissance’.

Discussing his biography with The Times Magazine, Matthew revealed that his wild past stems from his unconventional childhood.

Yet, despite a tumultuous life he’s ‘more reliable that anyone in his family,’ having grown up with his unconventional parents.  

Candid: Matthew McConaughey has reflected on his tumultuous Hollywood career, including his now-infamous brush with the law in 1999, after publishing his new memoir

Candid: Matthew McConaughey has reflected on his tumultuous Hollywood career, including his now-infamous brush with the law in 1999, after publishing his new memoir

In the interview, Matthew further detailed his parents’ fiery marriage, including the moment his mother threatened her husband with a knife after making a flippant remark about his weight.

Only four years old at the time, he explained that this sort of behavior was commonplace between his parents, and it wasn’t something he was typically shielded from.

Matthew also insisted that despite a few violent moments he grew up in a predominantly loving household, saying it ‘was part of the beauty of our family.’  

Childhood: Discussing his biography with The Times Magazine, Matthew revealed that his wild past stems from his unconventional childhood

Childhood: Discussing his biography with The Times Magazine, Matthew revealed that his wild past stems from his unconventional childhood

For many years following his screen debut in 1993’s Dazed and Confused, Matthew was branded the ‘new Paul Newman’, but thanks to a slew of rom-com roles – and his brush with the law – he became better known for his shirtless persona.

But Matthew explained that several years ago he ordered his agent to turn down anymore roles of that nature, and it did lead to fears his career would be over as the roles dried up.

He said: ‘I didn’t know how long it was going to go on. And it went on a pretty damn good amount of time. Long enough to become a new good idea.

‘Eventually, people started wondering, ”Where is Shirtless-on-the-Beach?” Until two years later when these roles started to come in and then I just attacked them.’

Changing it up: The actor, who has reinvented himself in recent years by refusing rom-com roles in favour of more dramatic work, and won an Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club in 2014

Changing it up: The actor, who has reinvented himself in recent years by refusing rom-com roles in favour of more dramatic work, and won an Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club in 2014

Matthew’s acclaimed performance in Dallas Buyers Club led to his Oscar win in 2014, and he has continued to appear in dramatic roles, including True Detective and Interstellar.

His next project is on animated film Sing 2, where he will reprise his voiceover role as a koala, named Buster Moon.

During lockdown, Matthew has become a viral sensation thanks to his PSA persona Bobby Bandito, a cowboy bounty hunter teaching Americans how to make a masks during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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