In this episode, we’re thrilled to have a very special guest – Matthew McConaughey, the Oscar-winning actor and New York Times bestselling author. He’s here to talk about his latest book, “Just Because,” which is a thought-provoking children’s book that offers a nuanced view of life’s realities. Despite being aimed at a younger audience, McConaughey treats his readers with respect and delivers a complex message. He shares that the inspiration for this book came from a dream he had, which he initially thought would be a song but turned out to be a book instead. During our conversation, we discussed parenting, relationships, and the things he has learned along the way. McConaughey’s journey and observations provide a unique perspective that is both inspiring and relatable. We hope you enjoy listening to this engaging conversation with Matthew McConaughey.
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- It Started with a Dream [00:03:59]
- Your “Easy-Going”ness with Kids [00:07:07]
- Knowing Your Child’s Language [00:21:02]
- Helping Kids Navigate New Situations [00:26:03]
- The Simplicity of It All [00:33:13]
- Being Committed [00:39:02]
- Getting Ready to Play a Part [00:43:04]
- Matthew’s Fitness [00:47:57]
- Lessons from Being a Father [00:50:30]
[00:02:10] Gabby Reece: Hi everyone. Welcome to the show. My guest today is Oscar winning actor and New York Times bestselling author, Matthew McConaughey. He came onto the podcast to talk about his latest book. It’s a children’s book called Just Because. You can find it in audio and of course, hard books, wherever books are sold.
And when I was reading the book, I thought I really appreciated, even though it is a children’s book, the respect that he has for the reader, the complexity in the messaging in the book, which is, it’s like some of the unfair or the nuanced things about how life is. And he talks about it.
And I think he said he was inspired by a Diddy that he was. Had in his sleep and that’s what he thought it was going to be like a ditty sort of song, but it ended up becoming just because we talked a lot about parenting and being in a long relationship. And he was really forthcoming about what he has learned and what he continues to work on and what seems to work for his family and for him and his beautiful wife, Camilla.
And I really enjoyed the idea that all of us are pretty much going through a lot of the same things, no matter who we are. So, I hope you enjoy my conversation with Matthew McConaughey. Okay. I love the fact that it made sense to me when you wrote Green Lights, because it’s like, you have a lot to share.
You’ve had an interesting journey, observations, this I think when people are in any sort of perceived extreme reality, they can really say, oh, this is the view from here. And that’s interesting. But I, I really, wasn’t surprised that you wrote just because a children’s book, but I was like, I wondered if green lights gave you the confidence to be like, oh, yeah, I can write something or was this really because it was a dream.
I did see that. You said, hey, this came to me as a dream.
[00:03:59] Matthew McConaughey: It came to me as a dream. I thought it was a ditty, which it is. I thought it was a Bob Dylan rap song just because through the dark don’t mean that is stuck just because they got skills don’t mean there is no luck. So, I just woke up to that rhythm and started writing things down.
Having kids, I’m seeing the world through the lens of my kids and those dependents differently. Then I have since before him. So evidently, I maybe dream to those ideas too, what I think could be valuable to them. I you know what, I think part of the exercise, I don’t know if it was the confidence from green lights, but I’m always trying to go, how do you make what I think are cool messages digestible, how do we make Sunday morning and Monday morning feel more like a Saturday night how do we make the broccoli taste good?
So, we get a little bit of rhyme, some illustrations. Make it digestible for children and the child and all of us adults. Whereas you could unpack a lot what I write in the book and make it very, it could be very academic, and it would go over a child’s head, yeah. What’s interesting though, I have to say in just because, because I read it a couple of times is I always appreciate because as young people are very smart. And you, in fact, talk up at them in this book. This isn’t it’s really pay attention to these lessons in here. I thought we’re actually high minded, high browed that you were respecting the kids.
[00:05:35] Gabby Reece: And it was a great reminder, like you said to the child and all of us, because it is very thoughtful.
[00:05:41] Matthew McConaughey: Thank you. That’s a really cool thing. You said, I’m going to remember that. I think I am talking up to them and I meant to talk up. To them and not talk down to us adults, but also mind us adults saying this is stuff that we have going on to and need to let’s we don’t need to be talked up to, but let’s remember this for ourselves.
Yeah, I did try to talk up to me. Yeah, you said it. Our children understand a whole lot more than I know. I originally thought they did. When they were really young and then you find out that for first, you don’t want to first, you don’t when they’re young and you don’t want to know you’re having corn for dinner, you spell it out the C. O. R. N. and you get away with it. And all of a sudden, before they can spell, they’re like, I know you’re saying corn. So, then you start going maze and you say it in Spanish or something and you’re like, they don’t understand that. And all of a sudden, they go, I know what corn is in Spanish. They get stuff a lot earlier than we think they did.
And this, if they can see themselves in these scenarios, this is not about making them get older more quickly, but it’s about them hopefully realizing this is how life works. And not just now for you in your life, but a way to lens to see life through that you’re going to is going to be helpful later on in life.
[00:07:07] Gabby Reece: And that’s what I mean. Like I started I’ll be honest. It’s I think like most of us, we go, Oh, it’s a kid’s book. It has illustrations. There’s a tree house on the cover. But when I started flipping the pages I was like, oh, yeah., these are concepts for life. This is for all of us. And yes, you made them in, in, in a way that a kid goes, oh, yes, I have a Christmas present to a pair of socks, but it’s still what it represents. So, I really appreciated that. Okay. So now that you have teenagers. I have a few teenagers myself. You have this, the impression is that you do have an easy-goingness to you.
and you said it earlier. It’s hey, how do we make Monday morning school still could have this idea of fun. And I wonder how have you been able to maintain that because being a parent it’s, you can be cool almost everywhere else in your life, but we don’t have that objectivity when it comes to our own children.
And I’m wondering, do you, are you able to maintain that with your three children, that still that ease and that fluidness that it does. Peer that you bring to your life,
[00:08:32] Matthew McConaughey: Not always Maybe I’m overselling myself by saying not always, if my family’s in there right now, they would, they might say not usually. And maybe that would even be overselling myself. Cause I know there’s times and there’s weeks where it’s not often. So yeah, look we try, but as saying no or following through on a guideline is a whole lot harder than just being cool and going yeah, but it’s to the detriment of our children.
If we just do that, because you said it we’re not here. It’s nice when we can when our children can talk to us as friends and have access and we could talk to them. Yeah, I had this similar scenario too, but that’s not our job is to just be friends with our children. We’re doing a disservice to them if it is, or what is evolution for? What are we parents for? We made them. We have experience, we have 18 years or more sort of shaping guide them to how life’s going to work and what consequences are for choices they make. And we know if we don’t give them the right consequences. Now they’re young at life’s going to be a lot harder and harsher than our consequences are going to be.
We were having this question. I was having this conversation with one of my sons this morning. And it is a weekday, Monday morning, we got schoolwork to do. We got stuff to do. Look, last night we were having such a good time. We were listening to music. We had dinner. We made late night scrambled eggs.
It’s all great, but we know. Today’s we know we got to do the work so we can either hum or I don’t feel like doing it you got to do it. So, if we do, there’s something that we don’t have a choice of not doing, let’s figure out how to do it with pleasure. So how can we see Monday morning and work?
We have to do responsibilities. We have to take care of it’s can we still dance through this and sing a song while we’re doing the work? Yes, we can. It’s hard, but yes, we can. Because what’s the what’s the alternative, right? Okay, don’t do it bad grades. Get back. Now you’re going to lose. Now you’re going to lose some privileges. You’re going to get grounded. You’re going to lose that fun weekend. If you just take care of it. I read that quote and I shared with my kids the other day, but better to take a small sip of poison every day than to have to gulp the whole gallon at the end of the month. Come on, guys. We got to put in the work each day just a little bit before things get too far behind. And sometimes we’ll slip, but man, those consequences come, and we regret it, and it comes out awkwardly, and it’s harder. So let’s just take care of what we need to take care of day to day. And if we get in that rhythm, we can have a little dance, and can be, and seem nice and easy, but as that’s doesn’t always happen.
[00:11:21] Gabby Reece: Yeah, no. And it’s interesting also having, I have three daughters and they’re all very different and you like sports a lot. And I know you’ve had coaches in your life, and you know how, A coach will have the art of speaking to each individual athlete.
I liken it to probably the way director can talk to a performer. It’s one needs to be left alone. One needs to be like, hey, take it easy on yourself. One needs to kick in the ass, right? It’s all this nuance. I struggle with this, which is I don’t treat my children the same. I just don’t like; I don’t parent them the same cause they’re different people.
And it’s not that it makes me insecure, but I, they’ll let you know to like, Oh you, especially you have a daughter, you know how different daughters are from sons, but daughters are like measuring and checking and they’re like, Hey, I’m calling you out on this. And I wondered how you dance that dance of under, of trusting yourself or you together as a couple, saying, this kid, we’re going to let the reins out because it’s better for them versus we didn’t do that with the other one or vice versa. How do you do that?
[00:12:39] Matthew McConaughey: Good question. Like my good friend and football coach Mack Brown has a great quote on that. He had. He coached University of Texas football when Ricky Williams, the great running back, was coming through. And Ricky, I don’t know, did something on a play and he was obviously an All-America running back.
And so, one of these other, like the third string running back comes up and goes, oh, why didn’t why didn’t he have to do that? And he goes, Mac told him, he goes, young man, I will treat you all fairly, but I will not treat you the same. And it sums up what you were saying. I look, we’ve got, we try not to go by age limit.
We try not to say like Levi just got on social media at 15. The other two are thinking, oh, when I’m 15, I can get up and we’re like no, Levi’s taking care of a lot of responsibilities to have the freedom that we’re giving him to try this out. Peter Livingston, if you show that ability, you may be able to do it at 14.
But you might not be able to do it until you’re not, until you’re 18. It’s really up to you. We’re not putting an age limit. You show us, and you, me and your mother agree that we think you’re ready for that, or whatever that new freedom is. That’s when you get it. Levi was much, incredibly conscientious.
He’s the one who wanted to let the reins… Go a little bit. Get out there. Go. He’s the one that you’re like I don’t know, man. Maybe you ought to steal a piece of bubblegum. You know what I mean? Yeah, you’re like, get away with something. You know what I mean? I hope I don’t see that in big bold print: “I think it’s time to steal”.
Anyway, the other one got another one, one of the young ones. I’m like, no. This one. Trying to reign back in to go, hey, man. Woo, you go be that reckless in the world’s going to clamp back hardcore. Don’t want, I want you to be say you need to pull it, reign it in a little bit and understand some more context and understand how other people feel and what the consequences of that action could be.
Cause we’re glad you got away with it in here. But we sussed you out and you’re going to get some consequences in the household. But you do that out in the world will suss you out. You may go to jail, bro. You know what I mean? There’s different. I think we, and again, we try not to put an age on it, but we do sit there and go, yeah, each one, you will get that freedom when you show mom and dad that you can take care of these responsibilities. When we’re not, when we’re here and when we’re not here because we want to, what do you, what are you doing when we’re not here? You know what I mean? You say you’re ready to go travel the world. Okay. You lead us to the, you tell the driver where we need to go to what airport. You take us to the gate at the airport. You take us to our seats and tell us where we need to, what our seats are. You put your overhead bag up there on your own. Yeah. And when you get off the plane, you remember to get everything out of all the pockets and everything and get off at the time. You show us.
You know what I mean? Okay. Thank you.
[00:21:02] Gabby Reece: And I learned this actually with my middle daughter, weirdly, that I wanted her to do that experimenting in life, actually while she was at home. Prior to going out into the world, meaning like my youngest isn’t really getting in trouble. It sounds like your oldest boy they’re just self-regulated naturally.
And but I realized as a parent that it was like, if you were going to have a kid that was going to be looking under. Every rock and sort of go, what’s this? What’s that? That you actually wanted them to do that while they were at home as uncomfortable as that is for us as parents. I’d rather that than I send you off if you choose to go to college or go into the world to do it then where at least you’re not going to like, at least you come home every night and I can.
I can see and so there’s so many different ways of doing it. And I wonder too, because at times you have a very busy schedule and Laird and I go through this a lot whereas the mom and again, because I have girls, there’s certain things I remember being a teenage girl. That I, that he defers, he doesn’t agree necessarily, but it’s, he’s deferring to my judgment for a long-term play on certain things.
And I wonder if you guys have a language between the two of you in parenting where you’ll, she can sense, Camilla can sense he knows something or vice versa where you defer how do you guys dance that dance?
[00:22:41] Matthew McConaughey: Good question. Look, we’re, we’ll start, we’re, we are still learning that, that dance and especially I think now that’s becoming a more complex dance because we do have two teenagers, as that a lot more starts to come at it.
They start to, for the first time, realize that they have enough things going where they want. More than 24 hours in a day. And we have to remind you, there’s not more than 24 hours a day. You, if you want to do this, you’re going to have to sacrifice that you can’t do. We can’t do it all right now.
So, there’s time management and things like that. There are things I think now with our daughter, where we’re starting to see more of, I defer with her and Vita it’s and I’ll be more than one who will sit back and be. Hopefully a great representation of her, of a man as a father figure to go and maybe I have, I try to come in there and be, it’s not good cop, bad cop, but maybe I’ll come in and try to, my friend who’s raised three daughters who are out of the household, who went to school and are out of the household.
He said this to me, his name is Barton Aggs, a friend of mine in Austin, says, Boy, in these teenage years, do what you can to have access to them. Because they want to shut down. Thirteen. They shut down until nineteen, and all of a sudden they come home one day at nineteen and go, Oh, I just realized everything you were saying back there the last six years was right on.
I’m sorry about that. And you’re like, after six years you want me to just be over it? It’s whoa. And so, I try to come in and be the one that’s maybe a little more friendly via the access side. So why do you like this? Why do you like this guy? He’s nice to you. He’s funny. Tell me what do you like about him? What do you like about you? Just to try to keep that lane open where we can have that discussion. The boys, sometimes she’ll, there’s spots where she’ll defer to me. And there are times where I’ll have conversations with them as boys, as my children, as my sons, that I call them in the room. And it’s about their responsibility.
If I let you get away with that, what kind of father am I teaching you to be? To your children. If I let you get away with that, what kind of husband would I be teaching you to be? To your wife. When you find the person, you love in your life. So that’s, we’ll have some straight up, hey, I know you’re young, but there’s a certain thing about the man of the house here, and you better buck up, and you treat with respect, and you never talk to your mother like that, or your sister like that, or whatever.
So, we’ll have boy to men talks, and then Camilla will have different ones with, Her and Vita. And we’re sussing that out as we go. I think we have; I think we do a pretty good job. We still have. Then after they all go to bed, we have those discussions about are we still sending the same message? Because we don’t want to get into that good cop, bad cop stuff where one of ’em thinks, oh, I know I can get what I want if I go to that for this. Or I can get what I want when I go. And so, we try to keep that balanced and, but that’s a constant discussion and a new discussion for us right now.
[00:26:03] Gabby Reece: Oh, yeah. And sometimes I’ll even tell my, right now, my youngest, especially I’m like, I’m trying to be your advocate, but when you go against your dad, I go, also, I’m going to have to deal with that. And so, you’re actually not helping me help you and even getting them to understand all the dynamics.
It is so interesting and getting ready to talk to you today. I was thinking about you have an exaggerated job. It’s a public job. And I really learned something that was very hard for me to hear as a parent when I, we were navigating a situation with 1 of our daughters, I was actually at a therapist, and I thought I didn’t grow up with a particularly I see your mom a lot on social media and I get the sense that, there, you have a family, a real family. I, Laird and I, Laird had a great mom. I didn’t particularly grow up in a very consistent home. So, growing up, I thought, oh, I have a clean home. I’m in a long relationship. You provided opportunities. You get to travel, you go to a good school, meaning the kids.
So, all the stuff that I thought we could like all problems, oh, we can avoid all that because we’re doing this stuff, right? And the therapist said to me, but can you recognize that your children have to navigate something you did not? And that is the unspoken, whether it’s from the parents, because it usually isn’t, it’s usually the world saying, hey, what are you going to do?
Because if you have two parents that sort of do these jobs that people think and are celebrated and it never occurred to me because I never had expectation. I fell into everything. I’m sure you can relate. It was like, oh, cool. You’re going to pursue this. Oh, that’s nice. Dear. Like the fact I always said, if we could pay our own bills, that was all that was expected.
And so now you think, oh, our kids have been around the world. They’ve met really incredible people they’re set. But when that got pointed out to me, I thought, Oh, wow. So, from very young, whether you guys put it on or not, you’re their parents, you’re making their dinner, you’re cutting their vegetables.
You’re talking about hard work and pursuing their passions, but the world is still saying to them, what are you going to do? I wonder. If there’s conversations about that, if it’s been brought up by your kids.
[00:28:40] Matthew McConaughey: it has literally the world has said to them. Oh, I thought your dad would have pulled up in a Lamborghini. Oh, I bet live in a big five story rich house. They have had to navigate through friends wanting to be friends with them because, oh, you’re Matthew and Camilla McConaughey’s son or daughter. So what we’ve tried to navigate is going, yes, you are, and you better keep your head high and your heart high because mom and dad have worked hard to get and been very fortunate to get what we have. And we feel like we’ve done our best to do it the right way. And we are going to be honored with that. And you’d be honored with that. Yes. Not an accident. Didn’t lie, cheat, and steal our way here. So, hold your head high and never get shameful about that at all.
Same time that doesn’t entitle you. You’re not entitled to get whatever you want based on our last name. We will help inevitably. Just happens you will get through some certain doors that other people may have more trouble getting into once you’re in that door. It’s on you. What are you going to do when you get in the door? I don’t know. People call it nepotism. I don’t know. There are certain it just comes with we get to the front of certain lines. Are there times that we go? No, we don’t want that. That we don’t want that red carpet or behind that. We don’t want that backstage pass because we wanted to see. Hey, Okay. God, I do. I understand, man. We’re taking the yellow car to the big plane, not the black car to the small plane that’s how I work sometimes, but at the same time, they see it, it happens and there’s long times ago with us and we do. Take that backstage pass or go to the front of that line. But what are you going to do when you get in that door?
[00:30:47] Gabby Reece: Do you though, remind them that just because you’ve taken this path and people you’re adored, both of you are adored and celebrated because you’ve brought a lot of joy to people. But that how do you get the kids to realize that whatever life they choose to build will be the one that you guys want for them?
[00:31:11] Matthew McConaughey: We talk a lot about character. We talk about where value is and we talk about how important money is in life, but how do you get it and what you do, because I talked to share a lot of stories. I said, I know a lot of people in my position or a lot of people that have a whole lot more money than we do that are not happy.
They are deemed successful by the world, but they’re unhappy. They don’t have stable relationships. They are lonely. They don’t trust anyone. They don’t trust them. So, they’re constantly hiring people to insulate themselves from the rest of the world and is that really how you want to, would you want to, you would want to live, try to get them to go, what are your unique abilities that you innately have, that you’ve been born with and which of those are you willing to work harder at to get good at? And then thirdly, if you want to make a living, what you think you do are any are that unique ability that you want to work hard at? Are you going to supply something that the world demands? Cause that’s how you’re going to have to pay your rent.
And look, if you want, we’ve told them, if you want, if you are happy living in your two-bedroom house in a spot where you really love and you wake up every morning, you feel good and you are working month to month, but you’re happy doing what you do, Bravo. That’s a real definition of success that is more successful than somebody who has a billion dollars, but they’re lonely.
Have trust, broken relationships and are regretting how they got to where they are. Yeah. So, we talk a lot about character and try not to but inherently I’m sure they feel pressure from the outside world to be like, but I don’t think we’re giving it to them.
[00:33:13] Gabby Reece: The parents may not.
It’s just I’m always curious because it never occurs to us. And then all of a sudden, it’s Oh, wait a second. You mean being loved and a good education isn’t going to prevent you from feeling those things that the world is asking you? Are you surprised? If you think of yourself and obviously, we all grow and change so much, but as your young adult male at 25, are you, does it, because I confess, I’m personally very blown away that I’m still married.
And when I say that it’s just because I didn’t have a great example. And I met my husband at 25. And so, I’m almost all in 28 years and I always think, oh, I didn’t think I was going to be one of those family people that could actually even pull it off a little bit the consistency. So, if you think about, because you have a very interesting, and I don’t say this from an informed, intimate position, the perception I see you as two people that are you feel like you have your own independent selves, Camilla still feels very on her own real estate as her own person, as do you, but yet you feel really family connected and oriented. Did are you, sometimes do you go, oh, wow, so far, I’m pulling this off. Like we’re figuring out how to dance the dance and make it work as a family.
[00:34:38] Matthew McConaughey: I’m never I must say this I, before starting a family, my only thing I ever knew I wanted to be was a father before. fall in love with Camilla and ask for her hand in marriage and us starting a family. I fully expect to pull this off now. Fully. That’s bold. Yeah, I guess so. But I’d say that until that does not mean that we do not recalibrate and reassess and go, whoa, did I just run and left you behind there? Oh, am I? Oh, because as we fall in love with someone for base, beautiful reasons. That does not mean that we don’t change.
Now, I think Camilla and I’s moral bottom line is solid. And I think that compass keeps us grounded, even when I’m over here and she’s over here and we got to figure it out. Are we saying the same thing in two different ways? Are we just on two paths? And if we’re on two paths, can we just make sure, how about this?
If instead of diverging. Let’s just, it’s okay to be a little bit separate, but can they be parallel and because it’s not always like this, it’s just not. And to think in and be let down when it’s not like that is really not realistic, I think, or fair. To the other one in the relationship, because we have different things turn us on at different times in life when we get things.
And I know I get creative and I’m running and I’m like, head down and not even looking up and looking up, looking back. And she’s gone. Yeah, I’m right here. I got your back. Keep going. And I’m like, oh, thank you. Geez. I didn’t even look up in weeks. You know what I mean? So, we have a trust there, but that takes constant updating and it sometimes things get out of balance.
Maybe I’m in the debit. Yeah. And she’s in the credit or maybe I’m in the credit and I’m feeling like I’m catching all green lights and she’s going, man, I’m over here stuck in the yellow and I got all right, slow down. What are we doing? Did I take off without the drop your hand there while we were running?
Did I get too far ahead? You know what I mean? Or how are we doing? And constantly just trying to keep, you never keep all of those things. I think at peak running order at want family, spirit, health you never keep them all just running at peak condition. And I just try to, we try to keep a good eye of Oh, we’re running low over here, but we’re still in the, we’re still in the black.
Oh, but let’s just get in the debit section. Let’s not get into the red and let something go for too long that we got to go. Oh my gosh, we got a problem. And so, it’s just a weekly daily maintenance. I’m not going to say daily. Sometimes it’s daily. And that’s, that can be tiring for both of us, for both couples, both spouses and it’s nice when you’re cruising on cruise control, but it, you got a week, two weeks, a month, and you’re rolling, you’re in the groove together.
You’re finishing each other’s sentences. Exactly what I was thinking. She knows what I was thinking. We agree. Yes. Don’t even have to say it, but that doesn’t, you have to, we have to recalibrate all the time, but I fully expect it and I’m committed as much as I can be humanly possible to making it work.
[And I believe. That a lot of times one of our challenges in in, in life, people, me included in relationships is that boy gets hot, and we want to quit early. And there’s an investment we can have with overcoming those hotspots that do build and we get some scars on us some calluses and it’s good.
It’s armor for a relationship and it’s armor for parents. To follow through on the nose. It’s damn, that was hard. It’s one in the morning. I gotta work at seven. Okay. But it was worth it. It’s just I got another scar, but it was worth it. And we don’t bat a thousand by any means and, but we just hang in there, in the hang in the fight.
[00:39:02] Gabby Reece: I think that’s a really important point, which is not only staying committed, let me ask you, do you think, because I often wonder this, I sometimes feel like when we have the capacity to make ourselves, I don’t want to use the word happy because that’s a misnomer, but when we’re in pursuit, when we’re not looking for the outside world, even our partner or our children to make us happy that we’re taking that responsibility ourselves, that I believe that it then also becomes easier to say, I’m in and I’m committed.
I think those things go part and parcel.
[00:39:55] Matthew McConaughey: I think you’re a hundred percent right. I think it ebbs and flows. I think we all need our individual agency. I know there’s certain things I have to do for me. Call it writing. Writing’s a solitary thing that I do. It’s self-indulgent, but it gives me a great sense of significance.
And if I have that significance of the daily achievement of writing or pulling some, I’m much more present at home and able to go talk to Camilla and see what you got going and how we, my rhythms are just, but they tell me, Camilla’s the one that’ll tell me you need to go get out of here, get, go off in your solo place for two weeks.
And then she tells me, don’t call, don’t nothing, stay up as late, do whatever you want. That’s what I do. That’s what I’m calling. I’m calling more but how does she keep her individual agency? She’s a wonderful mother. She takes care of me as well. We have to check in to make sure that she’s chosen to love to do that.
She’s sacrificed certain jobs that she’s been offered to pursue herself that she said no because That would consistently mean I have to be in that place. And because my family comes first, I don’t, I may need to be somewhere else. At that time. So, I cannot commit to that schedule. That’s a sacrifice on her part.
She also is, it’s part of the reason we’ve been apart for so short of, so minimal times that the, our family’s apart that’s her going. Oh no, that’s not negotiable. I don’t care what it takes. We got to, if it’s only for 48 hours, fly across world, get back over here. And we’re going to get back together.
And what are we going to do? We ain’t got to do nothing. You’re going to hang out, cook scrambled eggs at midnight and watch a damn show. What did we do? We don’t have to do something special. It’s just that we’re in each other’s. space and hanging out. And she’s the load bearer on that for our family. But we I think each person does need their individual agency that them solo separate from being a partner, separate from being a mother, separate from being a father has something that we do.
That is ours that fills us. And we try to keep tabs on that. But I would say Mo, I gotta, I’m, I get selfish. I would say Camilla sacrifices a lot for my, for me to chase my convictions and art and stuff. And when I, the more I recognize that and understand that without her, I wouldn’t have, I wouldn’t be as fulfilled. I wouldn’t have the freedom to fulfill myself or create like I do. When I recognize that, oh, this is such an asset, even with my responsibilities as a husband and as a father. That sure, sure helps, sure does help us.
[00:43:04] Gabby Reece: It is amazing when one Laird’s a genius every time because he likes for me to cook him dinner and I enjoy cooking. So, when I put food down and I really put effort into it, it’s not Oh, I just throw anything down with it, with him. It’s like a thing. And the amount of appreciation and all this. And I’m like, this guy is a genius because lo and behold, the next night goes around and I’m like, what can I do for Laird and be that when people go, I just want to be appreciated, it sounds so simple.
But what you’re saying is so true because to be of service to your family is not only. It gives you something that you can’t measure. It’s exhausting. It’s so enriching in the deepest, most quiet, real way. But if your partner gives you a look like, hey thank you. It doesn’t have to be a grand thing every night, but just it’s a look that’s fuel. Like you’re good. Here we go. So, I want to finish this conversation up. I’d be remiss my, usually on this podcast, I’m talking to scientists and doctors about metabolic function and all these very technical and scientific things, and then trying to figure out how do we make this actually mean anything in real life you have maintained great health.
And I know you’ve had to mess around for certain parts to be bigger or smaller, but your overall level of fitness and health has been very consistent. I’m just curious now. And I know there maybe is a little more time right now, but probably not much more. What do you do? Do you have rules and principles that you live by for your food and your sleep and your movement practices? Or is it just you throw it together?
[00:44:59] Matthew McConaughey: It changes. My one rule that’s an easy one that I just try to share is break a sweat once a day that sometimes that’s going to the gym and really breaking the sweat. Sometimes that’s going for a five-mile run really breaks it.
Sometimes that’s it. Sometimes that’s playing with the kids in the back yard. That’s my baseline sort of rule. I do average nine and a half hours sleep a night.
[00:45:28] Gabby Reece: How? You’re a good sleeper? That good of a sleeper?
[00:45:33] Matthew McConaughey: I’ve been doing that since for 30 years. Yeah. And thankfully. You do that. I’m told, I know people, friends of mine get really pissed off.
[00:45:40] Gabby Reece: You just feel safe, and you don’t worry about stuff at night. What’s up with that? How do you do that? You can go to sleep and stay asleep. Do you have a cool room? Is it dark? Do you do all that? Or you just go, Oh my God, you’re just one of those people.
[00:45:57] Matthew McConaughey: I guess so. Look, if I slept on the couch. And then the doors open, and mosquitoes are coming in. It’s getting hot and it’s 8:00 AM in the morning. I’ll wake up, but I’m an 11 to eight 30 guy sleep-wise. And yeah, it pisses a lot of my friends off. Great. I do I’ve always drank a lot of water, one water, some water drinking championships in bars. Okay. I even now I’m into more of a as I found a new hobby, tennis. Oh, it’s first time I’ve found in 30 years, and it is technical, but also the heart rate gets really high multiple times during working out or training. So, I have, I’m doing tennis and bands right now.
I’m just doing nothing but bands and tennis. And luckily my anatomy,
[00:46:56] Gabby Reece: Was there a reason you’re giving your joints a break on weights or what were you finding?
[00:47:01] Matthew McConaughey: That I kept injuring, I kept injuries, finding I was getting small injuries from going to the gym. After I would get in really good core shape and everything, I kept finding that as soon as I’d go to the quick explosive moves, I tweak some lower back, upper back, neck, shoulder. And I was like, and I I, my anatomy allows me to get big really quickly. And I wanted to say, you know what about a longer. More sinewy body. I want to see if I can still hold some muscle mass. And I found this sport that I can compete in. And so much more fun than running five miles to go play tennis.
And I’m like, Oh, and I feel myself getting a little bit better at it. Oh, I can’t wait to go out there again. And look, I’m drenched. I’m wringing out my socks. Great. That was so much fun. So, I’m allowing myself the pleasure.
[00:47:57] Gabby Reece: And the improvement aspect. Yeah. And what about food? Are you just. You eat whatever, you have time to come and go.
[00:48:08] Matthew McConaughey: No, I don’t eat whatever. I’m pretty spartan in the morning. And whether that’s called intermittent or just skipping breakfast. Pretty spartan in the morning. I… Heavy on protein, specifically seafood. My favorite is beef, but I do notice that if I’m heavy on beef, I do have more inflammation.
I think that’s one of the things that we battle as we age is inflammation, whether that’s from beef or alcohol or what have you. But and then I eat well. And if I’m, look, if I’m feeling like, oh, I need to lose a couple, I can go for, I can just, that one little thing of don’t eat dinner before seven o’clock.
It’s such a good it’s the and everyone goes, I’m with you. Hey, I love it on Friday night where I’m going like, pasta at 10 30, baby. We’re in. It’s fine. I give myself a break to go. The kids are having kids want pizza. I can sit there and go, okay, I’m not having pizza, but I sure do to clean up their plate.
I’m not puritanical on it unless it becomes something specific. I try to keep myself ready to go. If I have a role or something I’m going to do, I want to be two to three weeks out from going, I can get more in more specific shape for that. If I just hone in.
[00:49:38] Gabby Reece: Any supplements that Garlic.
[00:49:44] Matthew McConaughey: Okay. Oh, I’ve gotten off and you probably know this with supplements or at least if you, or maybe you disagree, but I really found supplements are like face creams. They’re great right when you take them. You feel the difference. But there’s a, they have a shelf life.
Give them a couple months, and all of a sudden it plateaus out. And I found that with my supplements it’s always nice to go, we’ll get on, and then get off of them. Then go off. And when you come back to the same supplement, you feel it work like it did in the beginning again. But overall, it’s almost like a diet.
If you’re eating the exact same diet every single day, your body will start to go. We got the gig, man. It gigs up. Now you need to change it up to make metabolism work in a different way. I find that to be true. The supplement is as well. So, I’ll have times where I get off. And right now, for the last three months, I’ve been on nothing but a garlic pill.
[00:50:39] Gabby Reece: Okay. In wrapping this up, if you could make an invitation as a husband of a lesson you’ve learned and as a father to people, or just a reminder, because I do think we go into it with one idea and then we come out with personalized lessons that were like, oh, this is valuable. For me, for example, as a parent, one of mine, and it’s not new is really to listen, not to fix it. Cause that’s what I want to do. And I’m like, no, just listen. And so I’m wondering if you could, if you have one that feels important to you as a husband and as a parent that you would like to leave with us.
[00:51:23] Matthew McConaughey: Oh, as a husband and a parent follow through is tough. And maybe if I go back to that thing about. I think we pull the parachute too early. Sometimes we, we quit when the going gets rough or when it gets hot, and we just go that next extra step. Don’t then don’t, and don’t play with the, especially with spouses. Don’t start, don’t play the tit for tat win loss game. Oh, it’s a no win. It’s a no win for both of us. And I’m guilty of playing it and I have to catch myself and go, and I’ll notice it was me being insecure. It was me at a time where I wasn’t feeling significant enough to have the competence enough to sit there and go. Yep. I come out winning and it’s, and I don’t end up winning in that situation where I think I’m I want, ultimately, I don’t end up winning. You know what I mean? I lose the next day with my wife; I’m playing that game. And then, I don’t know that I’m going to stick with that thing with kiddos right now. Those teenage years, try to keep access, try to keep some access because you’d rather them telling you, Hey. I’m lost and can’t get home rather than saying I’m too afraid to call him. And so I’m going to get in the car with you, even though you’re drunk to drive whatever that may be.
[00:52:59] Gabby Reece: Amen. Matthew McConaughey, you’re already a New York times bestseller. Your new book out for kids is called “Just Because.” You also read it. Am I not mistaken? I listened to a part of it and it’s unbelievable. So, I really and I’m not just saying this, honestly I really appreciate this book because it is, it’s just really thoughtful and beautiful and poignant and timeless. And so thank you for writing it. And thanks for spending time with me today. Thank you.
[00:53:29] Matthew McConaughey: You’re welcome, Gabby. Thanks for enjoying it. Thanks for sharing with me that you did. I enjoyed the chat.
[00:53:39] Gabby Reece: Thank you for listening to this week’s episode. If you want to learn more, there is a ton of valuable information on my website. All you have to do is go to Gabriellereece.com or head to the episode show notes to find a full breakdown with helpful links to studies, research, books, podcasts, and so much more.
[00:53:57] Gabby Reece: If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out and send them to at Gabby Reece on Instagram. And if you feel inspired, please subscribe. I’ll see you next week.
About Matthew McConaughey
Matthew McConaughey, Academy Award-winning actor, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Greenlights, and father of three, will publish his debut children’s picture book, “Just Because” with Viking Children’s Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers. Scheduled for publication on September 12, 2023, Just Because explores the contradictions all around us and how they make us who we are. Filled with his trademark humor and wisdom, McConaughey’s soulful and irreverent collection of life lessons will encourage readers, big and small, to celebrate how we are all full of possibility. Why? Just because.
“I wrote Just Because for your kids, for my kids, and for the kid in all of us,” said Matthew McConaughey. “We’re all as young as we’re ever gonna be, so let’s just keep learning.”
Matthew McConaughey is the Academy Award-winning actor and #1 New York Times bestselling author of Greenlights. He also created Greenlights: Your Journal, Your Journey, a guided companion that inspires readers to write down and reflect on their feelings, adventures, and dreams. Matthew and his wife, Camila, founded the Just Keep Livin Foundation, which is dedicated to empowering high school students by providing them with the tools to lead active lives and make healthy choices for a better future. He is a professor of practice and a Minister of Culture for the University of Texas at Austin, where he lives with his wife and three children.