Matthew McConaughey and Camila Alves have been together since 2006 and married since 2012. They have three children, Levi, 15, Vida, 13 and Livingston, 10. Over the years, we’ve heard a fair amount of stories about his mom, Mary “Kay” McCabe. For instance, early into Matthew’s fame, he stopped speaking to Kay for 8 years in order to set boundaries. Earlier this year, McConaughey shared that during his parents’ second divorce before their third time marrying (a wild bit of trivia in its own right), his mom got her Biblical knowledge on with Woody Harrelson’s dad. And, who can forget that time Kay told everyone about her husband-of-three-times’ climatic death (also written about in MM’s book)?
Well, now we’ve got a new Kay McCabe story to feed on. On a recent episode of the Southern Living’s Biscuits and Jam podcast, Camila revealed that when she first started dating starting Matthew, Ma Mac was not exactly the easiest of in-laws to get along with.
On Tuesday’s episode of Southern Living’s Biscuits & Jam podcast, Camila Alves-McConaughey revealed that she and the Interstellar actor’s mom, Mary Kathleen McCabe (who’s referred to as “Ma Mac” by the family), did not get along when the couple first started dating in 2006.
The Brazilian model recalled, “She did all these things when I first came in the picture, right? She was really testing me. I mean, really testing me.” Alves-McConaughey listed examples, sharing, “She would call me by all of Matthew’s ex-girlfriends’ names; she would start speaking Spanish with me in a very broken way, kind of putting [me] down a bit. I mean, all kinds of stuff.”
Alves-McConaughey admirably didn’t let the hostility deter her from trying to forge a more friendly bond with her future mother-in-law. She continued, “I got a job to go to Istanbul to go do a fashion show there, and that job comes with the perks of you get another first-class ticket, you get another night’s hotel room, you get this, you get the driver. And I was like, ‘Ma Mac, you’re gonna come with me.’”
“The whole way there, the whole plane ride to Istanbul, she was telling me all these stories and putting all these things in my head,” the model shared. “When we landed, I was like, ‘Okay, all right. Let me buckle up. Let me get ready for this situation.’”
Alves-McConaughey recounted, “About day three, I was taking her to her room, and she got into this whole other thing that it’s not my place to share, and she starts crying, and I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh!’ You know, ‘Ma Mac!’ and feeling so sorry. And as I put her to bed, I look at her and I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh. She’s full of [expletive].’”
Deciding to give McCabe a taste of her own medicine, the model shared, “I just [flipped] it on her and brought my spicy Brazilian, Latin side, and I let her have it. So I went back at her, and we had it back and forth, back and forth.” And finally: “She just looked at me and she was like, ‘Okay. Now you’re in.’ All she wanted was for me to fight back,” Alves-McConaughey revealed.
The model’s determination paid off — she explained, “From that day on, that night on, we have the most amazing relationship, and I have so much respect for her. She has so much respect for me.” Alves-McConaughey may have had to dig her feet in and grab the bull by the horns, but it sure did pay off.
Every family dynamic is different, and judging from Matthew’s autobiography, Greenlights, his family was truly one-of-a-kind, off-the-charts-in-a-gross-way unconventional. It can be difficult to enter or bring someone into a new dynamic, let alone one as bonkers as that one. I know she was never going to be your average mother-in-law, but Ma Mac’s approach feels somewhat abusive. When I first started dating Mr. Rosie, his entire family told me up front that teasing was their way of showing affection, and if they teased me, it meant I was in. I appreciated that head’s up. Do any of you have any good in-law stories? Maybe I’m being sensitive, but I don’t see how calling someone by their partner’s exes’ names, putting them down, or using broken dialect to speak to them is endearing at all. It’s pretty f—ked up. Ha, maybe telling this story is Camila’s lowkey way of getting revenge.
Photos credit: Thibault Monnier/LCD, Max DeAngelo, PacificCoastNews / Avalon, Backgrid