Matthew McConaughey Reflects on Leaving Hollywood for 2 Years: ‘It Was Scary’

The actor recalled having conversations with his wife, Camila Alves, about finding a new career path.

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Matthew McConaughey briefly considered a new job outside of Hollywood. In a recent chat with Glen Powell for Interview Magazine, the actor recalled a period in his career when he chose to step away from the cameras.

“I’ve usually zigged when I felt like Hollywood wanted me to zag,” Matthew, 54, said in an interview published June 10. “When I had my rom-com years, there was only so much bandwidth I could give to those, and those were some solid hits for me. But I wanted to try some other stuff. Of course I wasn’t getting it, so I had to leave Hollywood for two years.”

For Matthew — who starred in box office hits including How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Failure to Launch and The Wedding Planner — he found support in his wife Camila Alves.

“I had long talks with my wife about needing to find a new vocation,” he recalled. “‘I think I’m going to teach high school classes. I think I’m going to study to be a conductor. I think I’m going to go be a wildlife guide.’ I honestly thought, ‘I stepped out of Hollywood. I got out of my lane.’ The lane Hollywood said I should stay in, and Hollywood’s like, ‘Well, f**k you, dude. You should have stayed in your lane. Later.’”

During that period of time, Matthew described the days as “long” and feeling a “sense of insignificance.”

Matthew McConaughey
Matthew McConaughey (Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

“It was scary,” he added. “But I made up my mind that that’s what I needed to do, so I wasn’t going to pull the parachute and quit the mission I was on. But it was scary because I didn’t know if I was ever going to get out of the desert.”

Ultimately, Matthew isn’t done making movies and TV shows anytime soon. While he still calls Texas home with his wife and their three kids Levi, 15, Vida, 14, and Livingston, 11, the actor recently appeared in Agent Elvis and is expected to star in Oscar nominee Paul Greengrass’ upcoming drama The Lost Bus with America Ferrera.

He’s also been able to step out of the Hollywood box by co-founding Pantalones Organic Tequila and serving as an instructor at his alma mater, the University of Texas at Austin.

“Time slowed down,” the Just Because children’s book author told Southern Living in March when discussing life in Texas. “Part of that is just the distance between places and the way people move. But it’s also the hospitality, the courtesy, the common sense, the lack of drama.”