The actor, 53, spoke candidly about his relationship with his mother, Mary Kathleen “Kay” McCabe, during a recent interview with Entertainment Tonight Canada, published on 21 September. His comments came one month after Camila appeared on Southern Living’s Biscuits and Jam podcast, where she revealed that when she first started dating her now-husband, McCabe would do “all kinds of stuff”, including calling the model by the name of Matthew’s exes.
Speaking to ET, Matthew confirmed that his mother previously tested Camila, before explaining why she did so in the first place. “My family is big on rites of passage and initiation, and you don’t get into the McConaughey family easily,” he said.
He went on to detail how his entire family has “tested” each other’s partners during the beginning of their relationships. However, according to the Interstellar star, once the “initiation” is over, he and his family are very welcoming towards the new people in their lives.
“Even in our own family with my brothers and mother is one of us. Me and my brothers get on our high horse about something,” he said. “Oh, my family, we humbly wait, we make you cry, and then we pick you up and make your favourite drink: ‘You’re welcome back.’ So there are initiations, rites of passage that my family’s always enjoyed.”
He then backed up Camila’s previous statement, as she said last month that when she defended herself to McCabe, that’s when her relationship with her now-mother-in-law improved.
“When Camila goes: ‘I’m not asking your permission anymore.’ And basically, my mom was like: ‘There we go. That’s right,’” he recalled about the pair’s conversation.
However, according to Matthew, he and his wife haven’t decided if they’re going to continue doing these tests when meeting their children’s future partners.
“We’re just coming on the beginning of this dating stuff, you know what I mean? Talk to me in about three years, and I’ll have a better answer for you,” he said. “Navigating is not going to be perfect, but I think we’ll work it out.”
Camila and Matthew first started dating in 2006, before getting married in a three-day celebration at their home in Austin, Texas, on 9 June 2012. Their children, Levi, 15, and Vida, 13, participated in the ceremony as ring bearer and flower girl. They went on to welcome their third child, Livingston, at the end of 2012.
During her appearance on Southern Living’s podcast in August, Camila first opened up about how things were a little tense between her and McCabe at the beginning of her relationship with the actor.
“She did all these things when I first came in the picture, right? She was really testing me. I mean, really testing me,” Camila recalled. “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.”
According to Camila, she didn’t let the tests get to her, so she invited McCabe to go with her on a work trip to Istanbul. However, she said that while they were on the plane, her now mother-in-law kept sharing “these stories and putting all these things in [her] head”.
The model explained that by the third day of the trip, she “brought [her] spicy Brazilian, Latin side” and “let [her]” mother-in-law “have it”.
“So I went back at her, and we had it back and forth, back and forth. And then at the end, she just looked at me and she was like: ‘Okay. Now you’re in,’” she said, before acknowledging that she then realised that McCabe wanted her to “fight back,” which ultimately improved their relationship going forward.
“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,” she said.
Over the years, Camila has continued to be vocal about her close bond with her mother-in-law on Instagram. In honour of Mother’s Day in May, the model shared a snap of her and McCabe hugging, along with a sweet tribute.
“What can I say…You… teach me daily for the last few years since moving in with us, some lessons outside of my growing up values some that I need some that I don’t..but lessons I will carry for the rest of my journey!” she wrote in the caption.