Jennifer Garner Threatened to Quit ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ Until Matthew McConaughey Came Up With Secret Breastfeeding Signal

Being a working mom isn’t easy, even when you’re a rich and famous celebrity working on a movie set. Jennifer Garner knows the struggle all too well. The mom of three knew she didn’t want to give up her career after having kids, but she also didn’t want to sacrifice quality time with her new babies.

Garner admitted to breaking down in tears and almost quitting on the set of the 2013 biographical drama Dallas Buyers Club. It was all due to the stress of being postpartum and trying to navigate caring for a newborn and working at the same time.

The Golden Globe winner was on the verge of leaving until costar Matthew McConaughey stepped in and convinced her to stay by creating a secret code between them.

Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner
Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner | Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for Baby2Baby

Jennifer Garner has a long Hollywood career

Garner is best known for romantic comedies and family dramas, especially 13 Going on 30 (2004), Daredevil (2003), Juno (2007), and The Odd Life of Timothy Green (2012). By the time she was cast opposite McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club, she had an established reputation and impressive career.

And the Emmy nominee was also a veteran mom by that point. She and fellow actor Ben Affleck welcomed two daughters in 2005 and 2009. The family had just expanded by one more to include their son Samuel when filming began for Dallas Buyers Club.

She had a hard time juggling motherhood and work

Jennifer Garner
Jennifer Garner and Seraphina | Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage

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Garner was already friends with McConaughey when they got cast together in the movie. And she recalled a time he stuck up for her and even saved her job with his kindness.

In an interview with PBS’ Tell Me More With Kelly Corrigan, Garner shared exactly how great her co-star was during filming, Yahoo reported. And she admitted she was probably going to quit without his assistance.

After explaining how her agent pressured her to do the film even though it had an aggressive filming schedule, the actor discussed how she had no time to pump.

“My boobs were freaking out,” Garner said. “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.’”

Matthew McConaughey came up with a code to help Jennifer Garner

The film’s head honchos didn’t seem to notice Garner’s breakdown, but her friend McConaughey did.

She continued, saying, “Sweet Matthew McConaughey pulled me aside and said, ‘What is going on with you?'” After determining the issues, he demanded the crew take a break so the new mom could pump. “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,” Garner concluded.

Thanks to McConaughey’s sweet gesture, one working mom got the breaks she needed and deserved.