Mary Kathleen “Kay” McCabe was raised in Trenton, New Jersey, while Jim McConaughey grew up in Morgan City, Louisiana. “They met at the University of Kentucky, where my dad played football,” Matthew McConaughey told Garden & Gun. According to McConaughey, Jim didn’t get along with his coach, so he transferred to the University of Houston. Kay boldly proposed to Jim by giving him an invitation to their wedding and a 24-hour window to consider his answer.
McConaughey’s parents had a tumultuous relationship before he was born and while he was growing up. They divorced twice and married three times. McConaughey wrote about their explosive and sometimes violent arguments in his memoir “Greenlights,” detailing one fight that began with Kay saying, “Sure you want more potatoes, FAT MAN?” and ended with a broken nose for Jim and Kay covered in ketchup.
Injuries were not unusual during Kay and Jim’s fights. In his memoir, McConaughey writes that Jim broke Kay’s finger four times during their blowout arguments. Despite the volatility of his parents’ marriage, McConaughey insists he never doubted their love. “I was scared at the moment, but even then and immediately after that, I didn’t ever question the love that Mom and Dad had or the love that they gave us,” McConaughey told Today. “I’m not in denial of what happened, and what I saw was not abuse,” adding that his mother characterized Jim as the peaceful one.
If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.