How Matthew McConaughey overcame sex abuse to become a Hollywood A-lister- and could be the next Texas governor

MATTHEW McConaughey has already had some incredible roles – and the real-life governor of Texas might be about to be added to the list.

The 51-year-old actor has given his most concrete hint yet that he wants the job months after making shock revelations about being sexually assaulted as a teen.

As well as being an Oscar-winning movie star, McConaughey has already shown there are many strings to his bow as an author and even teaching as a film professor at the University of Texas.

But now he looks set to follow in the footsteps of other actors who left Hollywood for politics by becoming the governor of his home state.

Speaking on The Balanced Voice podcast, McConaughey called the Texas gubernatorial race "a true consideration".

"I’m looking into now, again, what is my leadership role?" he added.

"I do think I have some things to teach and share, and what is my role?

"What is my category in the next chapter of my life?"

It would be the latest step in a wildly successful career – after overcoming some truly horrific trauma.

Sex abuse & blackmail

News of McConaughey's surprising political aspirations come after he made an even more shocking revelation last year.

In his memoir Greenlights, which topped bestseller lists in 2020, he revealed in the opening pages that he'd been sexually abused as a teenager.

"I was blackmailed into having sex for the first time when I was 15,” he wrote.

“I was certain I was going to hell for the premarital sex. Today, I am merely certain that I hope that’s not the case.”

He went on to write that he was "molested by a man when [he] was 18 while knocked unconscious in the back of a van."

Despite the horrendous experiences, McConaughey says he never felt like a victim and doesn't elaborate on what happened later in the book.

"Ultimately, there’s nothing that I feel is constructive about the details," he told Tamron Hall.

"I feel like those details, unless I had a really good constructive way that I saw it that could be relatable to other people, I felt like those details could have just been grabbed and reported for voyeurism."

Although he revealed his traumatic experience for the first time in the memoir, he's been active in supporting anti-sexual assault causes for years, even volunteering as a driver at the University of Texas to drive students home from campus after dark.

Elsewhere in his book, he also describes his parents Kay and James' turbulent marriage.

I was blackmailed into having sex for the first time when I was 15

He says Kay once broke James' nose and held a knife at him during a fight, before they had sex on the kitchen floor.

He also alleged that James broke Kay's middle finger.

His parents were married three times and divorced twice, and James went drinking at a bar on the day Kay was in hospital giving birth to Matthew as he didn't think the baby was his.

Astonishing rise to superstardom

Since early adulthood, McConaughey's runaway big screen success story has been unstoppable.

His breakthrough role as a stoner in Dazed and Confused (1993) catapulted him to stardom which led to him being cast in a string of romcom heartthrob roles in the early 2000s.

But after years of being typecast he decided to move into meatier drama roles around 2011 in a period fans affectionately refer to as the "McConaissance".

His reinvention as a serious actor reached a high-water mark in 2013 when he played Ron Woodroof, a rodeo rider diagnosed with AIDS, in Dallas Buyers Club a – role which won him the Academy Award for Best Actor.

"When I was 15 years old I had a very important person in my life come and ask me 'Who's your hero?'" he said in his Oscar acceptance speech.

"I said, 'I thought about it and it's me in ten years'. So I turned 25 ten years later and that same person comes to me and goes, 'Are you a hero?' I said, 'Not even close!'

"She said why and I said, 'My hero is me at 35.'

"You see, every day, and every week, and every month, and every year of my life, my hero is always ten years away. I'm never going to be my hero."

His constant strive for self-improvement hasn't just benefitted him – he's dedicated to helping others too.

He joined humanitarian relief efforts in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city in 2005.

McConaughey and his wife Camila Alves also set up the Just Keep Livin' Foundation in 2010, which helps "empower high school students by providing them with the tools to lead active lives and make healthy choices for a better future".

And since 2015, he's been teaching film classes at the University of Texas where he studied in the 90s, becoming a full member of the faculty as a professor in 2019.

“It’s the class I wish I would have had when I was in film school,” McConaughey said of the course he teaches.

“The elements of truth and genuine joy for the process are timeless. That will always be our classroom focus.”

Political ambition

McConaughey even cited his belief he has things to "teach and share" in his recent announcement that he might make a bid to become the governor of Texas.

To get the gig, he'd have to unseat the incumbent Republican Greg Abbott at the next election in November 2022.

This isn't the first time McConaughey has hinted a move into politics and excited fans are dying to know what he would do in power.

Last year, McConaughey was asked about running for office on The Hugh Hewitt Show.

"I mean, that wouldn’t be up to me," he said.

"It would be up to the people more than it would me."

Although there's been speculation he would be a Republican candidate if he did run, he's not publicly declared which party he's registered to.

Texas has elected Republican governors at every election since 1995, when George W Bush took the role before becoming president in 2001.

So some believe McConaughey could be a Republican to improve his electoral chances but he has openly expressed some typically Democrat views in the past.

He endorsed mask wearing early in the pandemic and during an appearance on Good Morning Britain in December, he said: "You need liberals."

But he was quick to qualify the comment by expressing concern about growing radicalism on the left.

"What I don’t think we need is the illiberals, and what I don’t think that some liberals see is that they’re often being cannibalised by the illiberals.”

He added: "The extreme left and the extreme right completely illegitimise the other side."

If he does decide to run for office, he'll be following in the footsteps of fellow actors like Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger, the latter of whom became governor of California in 2003.

It's not clear what McConaughey's campaign slogan would be, but he's joked it probably won't be: "Make America alright alright alright again".

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