Matthew McConaughey Remembers Almost Dying at Age 4

Kristyn Burtt
·2 min read

Matthew McConaughey has been opening up about his personal life in a way we’ve never seen before. McConaughey has opened up about being a victim of sexual assault as a teen as well as his sweet lifelong dream of becoming a father in his new memoir Greenlights. The 51-year-old is revealing personal stories that show how the good, and the tough, times have made him one of Hollywood’s most famous leading men.

And most recently, McConaughey shared a scary experience that became a life lesson when he was only four years old. “I was 4 when my mother left me to sink or swim,” the actor tells the Wall Street Journal. “That summer, at the house of her friend in central Texas, we waded into the Llano River. I鈥檇 already had a few swimming lessons,” says McConaughey. “Within minutes, I wound up in water over my head. Mom backed up and got out. As the current slowly began to take me downriver, she walked along the bank at the same pace.”

McConaughey’s mom was testing his confidence in the water. “I flailed and Mom shouted, ‘Swim! Or you鈥檙e going over the falls.’ I panicked, but quickly lowered my head in the water, kicked and used my arms to reach the bank,” he writes. “Coming out, I wasn鈥檛 angry. I was proud of myself.”

McConaughey views this situation as his mother’s way of proving he had the skills to get himself out of a potentially dangerous moment. “Mom prepared me to be an actor long before my first audition,” he explains. “She鈥檇 say, ‘You don鈥檛 walk into a room like you want to buy the place. You walk in like you own it.’ ”

All these years later, McConaughey is not afraid to take risks because of that one defining moment that stuck with him.

Before you go, click here to see all the best celebrity memoirs you can read right now.

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