Matthew McConaughey’s Good Looks Once Cost His Family a Fortune

Matthew McConaughey does quite well for himself now. He’s been a famous movie star for over 25 years. When he was growing up, though, his family didn’t have lucrative Hollywood jobs. His mother was a Kindergarten teacher and his father ran an oil pipe supply business. So when they had a chance to make $50,000, that was a fortune.

Matthew McConaughey | Tim Warner/Getty Images

McConaughey was a guest on the Sibling Revelry podcast with Oliver Hudson and his sister, McConaughey’s How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days co-star Kate Hudson on Oct. 21. He told the Hudsons the story of his family’s attempt to make a quick windfall, until his boyish good looks ruined it. 

Matthew McConaughey didn’t always have movie star skin

McConaughey’s smooth skin has graced many a movie poster. The sweat of A Time to Kill probably helped make him a star. As a teenager, McConaughey said he had oily skin and acne. So, his mother suggested he use the oil of mink a family friend sold to her. 

“So I start each night rubbing down my face, oil of mink, covering my face,” McConaughey told the Hudsons. “After about a week, I’ve got quite a few more pimples. I go, ‘Mom?’ She’s like, ‘It’s the impurities coming out. It’s working.’ Another week, I’m putting it on and my face is starting to get swollen. It’s ugly and I’m like, ‘Mom?’ She’s like, ‘Wow, you’ve got a lot of impurities’”

The dermatologist set McConaughey straight about using oil of mink at his age. 

Matthew McConaughey Moody
Matthew McConaughey | Gary Miller/Getty Images

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“I’m swollen up, I’ve got full blown major acne,” McConaughey continued. “I sneak off to the dermatologist and he says whoa, ‘My God, Matthew, what are you putting on your face?’ I show him this mink oil. He goes, ‘No, no, no, no,no that’s for people over 40. This is clogging up your pores. You’ve got oily skin going through adolescence . You can’t put this on your skin.’”

Matthew McConaughey’s father thought he could profit off his son 

James Donald McConaughey wasn’t going to let his son suffer for nothing. He thought there was financial potential. 

“Dad gets the idea to make a little money off this thing,” McConaughey said. “It doesn’t even say on the bottle that no kid’s supposed to put that on his face. What the hell?”

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James called his lawyer, Jerry, to see if there was a legal case against oil of mink.

He goes down and goes, ‘Jerry, what do you think?’. “Jerry goes, ‘Mental fatigue, lack of confidence. I think we got a case with your son. I think we could make $35-50,000 to take this company down.’ So he sees me and Jerry’s like, ‘Damn, boy, look at you. You’re all swollen up. You don’t even look like yourself. Did you have mental anguish from this experience?’ Me going, ‘Yes, sir.’ He goes, ‘Like what? Did you lose confidence?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, I lost confidence.’ Jerry’s like, ‘Were you doing as well with the girls?’ I’m like, ‘No, I was doing horrible with the girls. It was horrible and I lost confidence.’ He’s like, ‘We got it, $35, 50,000. We walk that line in the prosecution, we got this money.’

Matthew McConaughey, Sibling Revelry podcast, 10/21/2020

His skin cleared up by the time the case got going 

Meanwhile, McConaughey’s dermatologist put him on Accutane. By the time he was testifying in depositions, his skin was clear. Even more so, the defendant had evidence against him.

Matthew McConaughey Q&A
Matthew McConaughey | Gary Miller/Getty Images

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As you know, depositions in court cases go on a while. Anyway, cut to 18 months later, I’m now a senior. The acne’s gone. The accutane worked. I’m sitting in the law office now talking to the defense attorney who’s sitting across from me and going, ‘I mean, the mental anguish must’ve been so tough for you, Matthew.’ I’m in my mind going, ‘I can’t believe he’s serving me this softball. I’m going to hit this out of the park.’ I’m like, ‘Oh, yes sir, it was horrible.’ He goes, ‘I bet you just lost so much confidence.’ I said, ‘Well, I did.’ He goes, ‘What else?’ ‘Well, I wouldn’t do anything with the girls, I was depressed.’

Matthew McConaughey, Sibling Revelry podcast, 10/21/2020

That’s when the lawyer went in for the kill.

“Then he took a pause, he reaches under the desk and pulls out this green yearbook,” McConaughey said. “He’s got the thing flagged. He opens it up, slides it in front of me, puts his finger on it and goes, ‘Who’s that?’ In my senior year I won Most Handsome. I knew right then oh, it’s over. He goes, ‘It’s been so tough.’ I’m like dammit, we lost. I remember Dad going, ‘What the hell boy? We were going to make 50 grand and you gotta run off and win god damn most handsome and screw the whole deal.’”