Matthew McConaughey Explains Why He Didn't Go Into Detail About His Sexual Abuse in New Memoir

Maria Pasquini
·3 min read

Philip Montgomery Matthew McConaughey for Town & Country

Matthew McConaughey is opening up about why he chose not to go into detail about being sexually assaulted as a teenager in his new memoir.

In his book Greenlights, McConaughey revealed his experience with sexual abuse, sharing that he was “blackmailed” into having sex for the first time when he was 15. He also briefly mentioned a second instance when he was “molested by a man when I was 18 while knocked unconscious in the back of a van.”

During an appearance on Friday’s episode of Tamron Hall, the Oscar-winning actor, 51, was asked why he only made passing references to the incidents in the book.

“Ultimately, there’s nothing that I feel is constructive about the details,” he said. “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.”

“They could’ve been the thing that every single show was going to go ‘Read about the details of when Matthew was molested,’ or ‘Read about when he got blackmailed,’ and that’s the wrong headline,” he explained. “I write also in the book I’ve never felt like a victim.”

“Those two events happened to me at 15 and 18. If they would’ve happened to me younger, maybe I would’ve been more confused,” he said. “But when they happened to me, it was very clear to me, that they were wrong, that they were not ideal, that they were not how it’s supposed to be.”

Continuing, he added, “So I think having that clarity means that it’s probably why it didn’t stick with me and confuse me later on or left me having a non-realistic view of the way the world is supposed to work.”

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Speaking to reporters about the memoir in August, the actor said that he “went away to the desert by myself for 52 days, no electricity” to write it.

“I’ve been keeping a diary for 36 years; a couple of years ago, my wife gave me a kick in the backside to say: ‘You’ve been talking about sitting down with those for 36 years and seeing what it is for a while. Now’s the time. Get out of here.’”

"I noticed many red lights and yellow lights that I had in my life earlier, that with time turned green," he explained, describing events that made him stop, pause or advance, respectively. "With time I saw, even hard, tragic things — I noticed they are things that can work for everyone. The death of a loved one, it's a red light — for me, my father moving on was a big red light — but then I've noticed when I looked in my journals how much … things he taught me kept him alive by what I learned from him and the man I try to be daily. That's a green light of his moving on."

Greenlights is now available for purchase.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.