Why Matthew McConaughey Didn’t Want His Son to Have His First Name

Matthew McConaughey and Camila Alves have three children named Levi, Vida, and Livingston. Here’s why the Dallas Buyers Club star decided not to name his firstborn son Matthew.

Matthew McConaughey says he learned that children are going to ‘be who they are’

Matthew McConaughey | Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images
Matthew McConaughey | Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

During an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, McConaughey discussed the lessons he learned about fatherhood. As far as children, he says, “It’s so much more DNA than environment than I thought it was going to be.” The actor says he learned that his children’s personalities have a lot more to do with how they were born. He has learned that some things are just out of his hands.

“They are who they are, and we nudge them along, and we shepherd them, and we try to put what they love in front of them and keep them away from great harm,” McConaughey says. “But boy, they are who they are right when they come into the world.”

Why Matthew McConaughey didn’t name his first son Matthew

In his book Greenlights, McConaughey explains why he chose not to make his son a Jr. The actor says he didn’t give his son the same first name because he wanted him to be able to develop his own identity. He didn’t want him to feel like he had to live up to the fame his father had attained.

According to McConaughey, Matthew is called Levi in some parts of the world. This was his way of having a Jr. without giving him his first name. He says Alves preferred the name Matthew, but she eventually agreed to the name Levi.

Matthew McConaughey won’t answer to “Matt”

McConaughey says his mother punished him if he answered to a shortened version of his name. She thought it was important for him to answer to his full name. Here’s what he told Jimmy Kimmel about his experience:

My buddy John Griffith said, ‘Hey Matt, you wanna play on the monkey bars?’ And I ran out and said, ‘Yeah.’ And halfway to the monkey bars I feel this hand on my shoulder. Bam, slammed on the ground. I look up, and it’s my mother in my face. And she was like, ‘What are you doing?’

And I say I’m going to go play on the monkey bars with John. And she says, ‘Who is?’ And I go, ‘I am.’ She goes, ‘What’s your name?’  I said, ‘Matthew.’

And she goes, ‘Don’t you ever, ever answer to Matt again. I named you Matthew from the Bible. And I was like, ‘Yes, mam.’

Matthew McConaughey, Jimmy Kimmel Live!

McConaughey says if anyone calls him Matt he knows right away that they don’t know him well.

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