Jennifer Garner Says Matthew McConaughey Used a Secret Sign to Help Her Breastfeed on Set

Arielle Tschinkel
·2 min read

Actress Jennifer Garner knows all too well that new parents who have just given birth are rarely given adequate support. Garner recently opened up about the stresses she faced when filming a movie while still breastfeeding her youngest child, Samuel, revealing that it was her longtime friend and co-star Matthew McConaughey who offered her the support and encouragement she needed.

In a recent appearance on PBS' Tell Me More With Kelly Corrigan, Garner shared that she nearly quit acting during the filming of 2013’s Dallas Buyers Club, but it was McConaughey who supported her throughout her first role after taking time away from the industry to raise her three children.

Garner explained that her agent offered her the role, seemingly offering an ultimatum that if she didn’t take it, she’d be facing “retirement,” because she’d "taken so much time" away from acting to focus on her family. The movie was under such a strict filming schedule that Garner found little time to pump, and during one tough night of filming, she hit a bit of a breaking point.

“My boobs were freaking out,” she recalled. “It was bedtime and we were doing some scene that was supposed to be light and I started crying and I was like, ‘I have to quit. I have to go home, I need to be with my kids. I just can’t do this anymore.’”

Getting a bit emotional, she added, “Sweet Matthew McConaughey pulled me aside and said, 'What is going on with you?'" He then asked the crew for a break so she could pump in private. "And from then on, whenever I needed to, I would give him a ‘hi’ sign and I would go take care of it. He said, 'You can do both. You’ve got it. You can do it.' "

“How much do I love that guy? I know, a lot," she said.

McConaughey’s support clearly meant a lot to Garner, and we love that these two have such a strong bond. Of course, it’s both disheartening and maddening to hear any time a new parent feels pressured to return to or perform at work without adequate support and private time, and we’re grateful to any mom who speaks so openly about their experiences the way that Garner has.