Matthew McConaughey opens up about 'sometimes violent' childhood in new memoir

Matthew McConaughey and Camila Alves.
Matthew McConaughey and Camila Alves. Photo: Instagram

Matthew McConaughey has opened up about his "ugly and sometimes violent" childhood in his new memoir, Greenlights.

McConaughey based the memoir on his diary entries over the last 36 years, telling TODAY host Willie Geist that although the way his parents treated him could be considered abuse, he doesn't see it that way.

"I was scared at the moment," he admitted, in response to if he thought their behaviour was wrong. "But even then and immediately after that, I didn't ever question the love that Mum and Dad had, or the love that they gave us."

McConaughey said that some of the stories in Greenlights are "bloody and ugly and sometimes violent" but he wanted to tell them because there were times the love that we [his siblings] had were "challenged, but never had a chance of being beat".


with reverence #fathersday

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The 50-year-old actor said he hasn't been raising his own children, Levi, 12, daughter Vida, 10 and Livingston, seven, the same way he was brought up, saying he and his wife prefer to "talk things out".

"I don't raise my children the same way my parents raised me ... but I don't dare judge how my parents did it because every single time I got in trouble or got the belt or whatever, I earned it," he said, laughing.

The Dazed and Confused star recently revealed he had been sexually abused as a young person, although said he's "never felt like a victim."


"I have a lot of proof that the world is conspiring to make me happy," he wrote.

McConaughey married Brazilian-American model Camila Alves, 38, in 2012, describing his family as the most "non-negotiable" part of his life.

"I've had trysts along my way in my own life, some people can have them forever and you can Peter Pan your way through the whole thing," he said on  The Howard Stern Show.

"Fine ... but the most important thing to me is my family."


One proud mamma! #Greenlights book out TODAY!!!! Uau!!! Words can not express how proud I am of this work of love that Matthew did!! Laugh out loud, to tears, to wisdom, to the bumper stickers it is a journey you just have to read!!! Turn your red lights into greenlights!! Go get it at or anywhere books are sold!!!💚💚💚 . . 💚💛💚 Uma mamãe orgulhosa! #Greenlights reserva HOJE!!!! Uau!!! Palavras não podem expressar o quão orgulhoso estou deste trabalho de amor que Mateus fez!! Rir em voz alta, às lágrimas, à sabedoria, aos adesivos, é uma jornada que você só tem que ler!!! Transforme suas luzes vermelhas em luzes verdes!! Vá buscá-lo em!!

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