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Celebrity Interviews
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Matthew McConaughey on Dating, Fatherhood and Romance

By Fred Topel
June 2009

Matthew McConaughey has found his greatest success in romantic comedies. Usually he plays a sort of goofy player who learns to commit to that one special girl in the end. In real life, McConaughey takes his relationships seriously. Even though he’s had many that didn’t work out, he follows his father’s old advice.

“Respect women,” McConaughey said. “I think I was asked recently, what was the birds and bees talk that I had, and it was always pop talking about respecting a woman. I think I’ve said this before.”

For those ladies lucky enough to score a date with McConaughey, they can expect a fun night planned. “It has to do with food and I’m cooking it. My date’s cooking it and we’re trying to make it last as long as possible because then we can have another glass of wine plus the later it comes on, the better it tastes because you’re really hungry. No, it is good. Maybe a trip down to the store for something fresh on the meat side, but other than that, we want to basically clean out the fridge. And, we may bake something, we may also use the grill and then we may end up with everything in the same pot by the time it’s time to eat.’”

There won’t be any McConaughey cooking dates for a while though. Right now he is committed to the mother of his son, Camila Alves, but he’s still in no rush to make it official.

“Am I getting married in the future? Not today. Honestly, not today. I don’t have any plans for it. I was asked this earlier. It’s not an institution I’m against at all. I’m actually for it, believe in it and have seen it actually be very, very healthy for many relationships. Some people go through it some great ways. It’s just not something I plan on doing right now and that I feel like I need to do right now, but I’m not against it at all.”

Like the plot of a silly romantic comedy, McConaughey has seen many weddings go wrong. “I’ve been in a couple of weddings where the coolest people were so mellow the day before and then the day of the wedding were freaking out. Not about getting married… but about this is not being pulled off. What’s happening? The things that go wrong at weddings. At that time, you’re walking a tightrope I suppose.”

As a father, McConaughey has observed many of his costars balance work and family, including his latest costar, Jennifer Garner. “I don’t remember exactly what we said now that I’m doing it. I’ve said this though, what she was great at in hindsight after now having a child, it was very seamless how [she] handled being a parent and being an actress. It was very seamless, at least it seemed seamless. It never felt like a stop start, okay, now I’ve got to get into this. [She] made it seem very, very seamless, very dexterous.”

Now that he is a working father, McConaughey will have to find a balance too. Sometimes, the work side is still overwhelming. “I never had an expectation. because I didn’t know what the hell it was about and didn’t expect it. I didn’t even know I was going to be acting until I was 21. I like how it’s going. I’m happy. I love my job. I’m starting to like it more actually than I used to. I think one, because I understand it a little bit better. I understand where and how my job’s more like the rest of my life and I also understand where it’s different and where it’s separate. Sometimes I want it to be very seamless with where I am in my own life at that time. Other times, I want it to be a complete trip for me, a journey away from where I am. So I’m enjoying it.”

With folks like us prying into his personal life, McConaughey remains mellow about the attention he receives. “I don’t have much of a strong opinion on that, and I think I know what you’re getting at. You said public eye and you said attention, because it’s inevitable and I’m not going to retreat or go hide out. I don’t get emotional. Something is inevitable unless I can work on changing some laws. Unless you can handle it in a legal way, I go ahead and just don’t advertise it but take a breath and just go do what you do anyway.”

Even other celebrities lavish attention on McConaughey. At the Country Music Awards, Carrie Underwood made a comic pass at the actor. “I thought that was hilarious. That was a great off the cuff comment she made. I told some story at the CMA’s about when I was a kid, me and my brother went to see Dwight Yoakum, met a couple girls, they got very interested in us, we got interested in them. They said, ‘What do you all do for a living?’ and we just lied and said, ‘We custom make all George Strait’s boots and we have an exclusive contract with him.’ Then they got really interested. So we said, ‘As a matter of fact, in the trunk of the car, in the parking lot, we have his next year’s, unreleased, exclusive signature series white ostrich quilt boots, if you want to see them.’ And they said, ‘Can we? Can we?’ The point of the story is we got lucky that night, thank you, George, who was in the audience. So, yeah, then she won the award. I gave the presentation and among her saying thank you she was like, ‘I’d like to see those boots.’ It was hilarious. It was a big laugh. Everyone in the whole stadium laughed. It was cute. It was really kind of adorable. It was true. I was seventeen. It was a great story. That’s all.”

Though romantic comedies have become his forte, McConaughey still balances them with different sorts of movies. “You’ve always seemed to do things different. Lincoln Lawyer’s a very cool Michael Connelly book, courtroom, defense attorney gets a client. That’s because of interest but two, yeah, I’m going to that and I’ve got another thing with Bob Benton that’s a political drama about LBJ. Then I’ve got a wild ass comedy called The Crackle.”

Don’t worry, it won’t be too long before his next romance. “[I’m] keeping my eyes open for good comedies that have romance. I like doing them and they’re fun and I’ve had some success with them. That’s pretty cool.”
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