Matthew McConaughey Says He Wouldn’t ‘Ask My Parents to Change Anything’ About His Upbringing

by Caitlin Berard

As children, we view our parents as all-knowing, all-powerful individuals. Then we get older, become adults ourselves, and realize that our parents never really knew it all, they were just doing the best they could. Everyone makes mistakes, and many of us have things about our childhoods that we would change. Matthew McConaughey, however, says he wouldn’t change one bit of his.

What makes this sentiment from McConaughey even more interesting is that he had what most would consider an unconventional upbringing. His parents never bothered to hide their (often violent) arguments, believed in corporal punishment, and even had sex in front of their young son.

As an adult with children of his own, McConaughey doesn’t look back on any of this in horror. On the contrary, he has nothing but fondness for both his childhood and his parents. In an interview with LADbible, the beloved Texan recounted his painful childhood memories with smiles and laughter.

“I wouldn’t ask my parents to change anything they did. When I talk about how my family was corporal punishment, how you got the belt, you didn’t get grounded… Me and my brothers, no one ever got injured. And we knew every time we got punished, ‘Yep, earned that one. Guilty.’ I mean, there was never a ‘Wait, but I didn’t- I shouldn’t get that one.’ No, we knew we had tried to pull something off and didn’t get away with it.”

Matthew McConaughey On His Parents’ Style of Punishment

Matthew McConaughey says that the best part about his parents’ style of punishment was that there were never any lengthy groundings or grudges. He and his brothers were punished on the spot and it was over for good.

“The consequences were short, abrupt, painful for a moment, and then it was over,” McConaughey recalls. “That was the other thing, it was over. My parents believed in that [style of punishment] because they didn’t want to steal your time. It was like boom, over. We’re gonna go get a cheeseburger after this is done tonight. And a milkshake! Everything’s better, no grudges. Never bringing it up again.”

While recounting his unusual childhood, the Dazed and Confused star recalled a time he was caught stealing a frozen pizza. His father backhanded him – not for stealing the pizza, but for lying about it.

“What hurt was looking up at him and seeing the pain on his face, feeling like he failed as a father for not raising a son that can come home and tell the damn truth about stealing a pizza,” McConaughey says. “If I told him, ‘Yeah, we stole it,’ he’d have gone, ‘Number one – you need to learn how to get away with it better. Number two – I’ve stolen plenty of pizzas, here’s how you would do it. Number three – are you not making enough money with your chores to buy your own damn pizza?'”

It might seem unbelievable that someone with that kind of childhood wouldn’t harbor any hard feelings, but McConaughey remains devoted to his parents. His father passed away decades ago, but his mother is still living and resides with McConaughey and his family in his home in Austin, Texas.