Matthew McConaughey Reveals Why He Wanted to Be a Father at 8 Years Old

Some people take many years before they decide to become a parent. However, actor Matthew McConaughey had already made up his mind at the age of 8. When McConaughey was in elementary school, he knew he wanted to be a father. He recently share why.

Matthew McConaughey smiling in front of black background
Matthew McConaughey | Rick Kern/Getty Images

Matthew McConaughey has 3 children

McConaughey is married to model Camila Alves. They began dating in 2006 and tied the knot in 2012.

The couple has three children together: Levi (born 2008), Vida (born 2010), and Livingston (born  2012).

The family resides in Austin, Texas.

Matthew McConaughey wanted to be a father at 8 years old

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McConaughey knew he wanted to be a father when he was only 8 years old. He explained to Tim McGraw on the country star’s Beyond the Influence Radio.

“It was when I was eight years old is when it hit me. I wanted to be a father,” McConaughey shared, according to People. “I remember what it was. My dad was a ‘sirs,’ and ‘ma’ams’ and ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ man, and he would introduce me to his friends.”

After meeting many of his father’s friends, he realized many of them had children.

McConaughey explained, “I had already shaken many of his friends hands through years, but at that moment in my eight year old mind, what went through my mind is, ‘Oh, the common denominator about all these men that I’m saying ‘sir’ to is that they’re fathers. That’s why they’re a ‘sir.’”

These experiences made young McConaughey equate life success to fatherhood. He remembered thinking, “That’s when you’ve made it. That’s when you become a sir. That’s what success is.”

What Matthew McConaughey is like as a parent

Matthew McConaughey with Camila Alves and kids at Hollywood Walk of Fame
Matthew McConaughey, Camila Alves, and their children in 2014 | Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

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Despite being a rom-com star and making viewers laugh in his many movies, McConaughey can be strict as a father.

For example, he does not spoil his children even if he is able to. He explained to Town and Country, “Sometimes loving your kids means giving them just what they want. Other times it means tough love. Affluent people can give their kids everything they want, but they’re not usually going to get what they need. Loving a child is a lot harder if you really give a damn. ‘No’ takes a lot more energy. It’s a lot easier to say ‘yes.’”

Additionally, McConaughey’s kids have to follow some strict ground rules. McConaughey once shared there are phrases his children are not allowed to say at home.

“We do not allow lying in the house,” he told Yahoo Life. “You cannot say the word[s] ‘I can’t,’ and you can’t use the word ‘hate.’… Those three [things] will get you in big trouble in our house. Lying, saying, ‘I can’t,’ or saying ‘I hate.’”

However, one thing McConaughey and Alves encourage their kids to speak about is gratitude. The couple told Town and Country they even implemented a “gratitude circle” in their Just Keep Livin’ program, which works with underprivileged high school kids around the country.