Matthew McConaughey’s Mom Lied To Him About Winning the Little Mr. Texas Competition For 40 Years

Many people have parents who would stop at nothing to make them feel special, and Matthew McConaughey is one of them. The Oscar-winning Dallas Buyers Club star was actually tricked into thinking that he’d won a pageant he competed in when he was just a child.

McConaughey competed in the Little Mr. Texas pageant when he was eight years old. At the time he was under the impression that he’d won the competition, as his mom told him the trophy he went home with was for first place. 

Unfortunately, McConaughey found out more than 40 years later that he had, in fact, come in second place at the Little Mr. Texas competition.

Matthew McConaughey thought he won the Little Mr. Texas competition

Matthew McConaughey
Matthew McConaughey speaks onstage during HISTORYTalks Leadership & Legacy | Noam Galai/Getty Images for HISTORY

RELATED: Matthew McConaughey Reveals He Was Blackmailed Into Losing His Virginity — ‘At the Time, I Was Sure I Was Going To Hell’

McConaughey told the hilarious story behind the childhood experience during an interview with Graham Bensinger.

“Mom entered me in the Little Mr. Texas competition, Bandera, Texas, 1977,” McConaughey said. “‘Right out there on the horse, let’s get you a nice vest here, made by that deer we killed. Yes, perfect, that fit’s you just right. Got your cowboy hat set, your boots shined, here we go.’”

At the conclusion of the competition, McConaughey was convinced that he’d won first place. His mom congratulated him and reminded him of his accomplishment as often as she could.

“On the stage, boom, next thing I know they call out the winners, I don’t know, I got a trophy,” McConaughey said. “And from that day on, my mom immediately framed a picture of me holding that trophy, and put it up on the kitchen wall, where every morning when I would come to breakfast she’d go, ‘Look at you, right there, you are Little Mr. Texas.’ I’d be like, ‘Yeah, I am. Thanks mom, yeah. Every day, ‘You are Little Mr. Texas.’”

He found out he was the runner up more than 40 years later

Unfortunately, McConaughey’s reality came crashing down after he realized that he didn’t win the competition after all. 

“That was 1977,” McConaughey said. “Two years ago when I started gathering stuff to write this book, I came across that photo and I looked at the name plate on the trophy that I was holding in the picture. And I zoomed in on it and it said, ‘runner up.’”

When he reached out to his mother to gain some clarity, she had a heartwarming response.

“I called my mom, I was like, ‘Mom, you told me all these years I was Little Mr. Texas, I was actually runner up,’” McConaughey said. “She said, ‘No, no, no, that kid who won, his family was really rich, so they had money to buy him a nice three-piece suit and we call that cheating.’”

Matthew McConaughey’s family thinks the white lie helped him achieve more

Even though McConaughey was disappointed to find out that didn’t win the competition, he and his family joke about how the lie might have given him the confidence to accomplish everything he has in his life. 

“The running joke has been sort of like, would I be where I am now in life if I had not lived the last several years thinking that I was Little Mr. Texas?” McConaughey said. “What would have happened to me if I’d have grown up thinking I was runner up?”