Matthew McConaughey Says Woody Harrelson May Be His Biological Brother After Learning Family Secret

The True Detective co-stars may be family IRL.

Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson already have a "bromance"—and some new information about their families may put more emphasis on the "bro." The two have been close friends and collaborators for years, but in a new interview, McConaughey shared that they might actually be related. The revelation came about when McConaughey's mother, Kay, revealed that she had a connection to Harrelson's father before McConaughey was born.

The two actors star together in the upcoming Apple TV+ series Brother from Another Mother, which is a loosely biographical look at them and their families. While the title of the show remains true, they now suspect that they might have the same father. Read on to see what McConaughey had to say about his mother's admission and how they're dealing with the news.

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Their families already thought they look alike.

During an interview on Kelly Ripa's podcast, Let's Talk Off Camera, McConaughey spoke about the similarities between him and Harrelson and how close they are. The actors are both from Texas and have an eight-year age gap between them.

"You know, where I start and where he ends, and where he starts and I end, has always been, like, a murky line," the 53-year-old actor said. "And that's part of our bromance, right? My kids call him Uncle Woody. His kids call me Uncle Matthew … And you see pictures of us, and my family thinks a lot of pictures of him are me. His family thinks a lot of pictures of me are him."

McConaughey's mom said she "knew" Harrelson's dad.

Camila Alves, Matthew McConaughey, and Kay McConaughey at the American Cinematheque Award Gala in 2014
Jaguar PS / Shutterstock

McConaughey went on to explain that when both his and Harrelson's families were in Greece a few years ago, they started talking about their histories.

"And my mom is there, and she says, 'Woody, I knew your dad,'" McConaughey said. "Everyone was aware of the ellipsis that my mom left after 'knew.' It was a loaded K-N-E-W."

Harrelson and McConaughey then looked into this connection. "We went on to unpack what this 'knew' meant and did some math and found out that his dad was on furlough at the same time that my mom and dad were in their second divorce," he said. "Then there's possible receipts and places out in west Texas where there might have been a gathering, or a meeting, or a 'knew' moment."

McConaughey's parents married each other three times total, after divorcing twice. His father, James, died in 1992, while Kay is now 91 years old. Harrelson's mother, Diane, and father, Charles, divorced when Harrelson was a toddler. Charles Harrelson was a hitman who was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. He died while still imprisoned in 2007.

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They haven't taken DNA tests… yet.

Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey at the 2014 Emmys
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Ripa asked McConaughey whether he and Harrelson had taken DNA tests to find out if they are actually half-brothers. "This is what we're on the precipice of now," the Oscar-winner responded.

He went on to explain that agreeing to a test is a big decision for him, since he could potentially find out that the man he believed to be his father for his entire life isn't biologically related to him.

"Look, it's a little easier for Woody to say, 'Come on, let's do it,' because what's the skin in it for him?" the actor said. "It's a little harder for me because he's asking me to take a chance to go, 'Wait a minute, you're trying to tell me my dad may not be my dad after 53 years of believing that?' I got a little more skin in the game."

McConaughey has referred to them as "brothers" before.

McConaughey and Harrelson have been friends for years and also worked together before. They co-starred in the movies EDtv and Surfer, Dude and in the TV series True Detective.

Additionally, they've shared moments from their friendship with their fans on social media. In 2019, McConaughey posted a photo of them swimming together and wrote in the caption, "brothers from nother mothers?" In 2018, Harrelson shared picture of them sitting in a car and captioned it, "My ole buddy."

Earlier this year, McConaughey's wife, Camila Alves, posted an Instagram in honor of their daughter Vida's 13th birthday, which also shows the families' close relationship. Next to a photo of Harrelson standing beside Vida, looking at her birthday cake, she wrote, "Uncle @woodyharrelson is questioning if the cake is vegan or not!!!"

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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