Despite being one of Hollywood's most popular male leads, having millions in the bank and being dubbed 2005's 'Sexiest Man Alive', Matthew McConaughey remains the free-spirited, easy-going Texan he's always been.
Born the youngest of three brothers in Uvalde, Texas, on November 4, 1969, Matthew David McConaughey had what he describes as a conservative Christian upbringing with dad Jim, a former American footballer turned gas station owner, and teacher mum Katherine.
By the time he reached high school the blue-eyed boy was already setting hearts racing, getting voted "most handsome" in his senior year. At 18 he took off for Australia for a year, because, as he says: "I didn't know what the hell I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to go to (college) but didn't know what I wanted to study. I didn't know what I wanted to be. But I knew I liked travel and adventure."
On his return to the US he enrolled on a law course at the University of Texas, later switching to Film. His first screen experience came in 1991 when he appeared in a handful of student films and a beer commercial. A year later the budding moviemaker was directing his own short Chicano Chariots
A chance encounter with casting director Don Phillips in an Austin bar put him back on the other side of the camera, though, with a part in the 1993 coming-of-age drama Dazed And Confused
It was his first leading role as an idealistic young lawyer in A Time To Kill
- which he snatched from seasoned actors Brad Pitt
and Val Kilmer - that placed Matthew firmly on the showbiz map, however. And when, in the summer of 1996, Vanity Fair
used him on the cover just before the film's release he became an instant media sensation and "the next big thing".
A clutch of romantic comedies, How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days
opposite Kate Hudson
, The Wedding Planner
alongside Jennifer Lopez
and Failure To Launch
with Sarah Jessica Parker
, helped consolidate his career.
An outdoors guy who loves nothing better than a round of golf and hanging out at his Texan ranch, Matthew is regarded as a free spirit. He hasn't lacked for A-list girlfriends, however; past flames include A Time To Kill
co-star Sandra Bullock
and Fast Food Nation
actress Patricia Arquette.
Although he enjoyed a romance with Sahara
co-star Penelope Cruz
, that also ended after two years. "Break-ups suck, but it was pure and honest and we both still respect each other and we're still friends," he said in the wake of their split in 2006.
There was happier news for the actor in January 2008, after he had been dating Brazilian model Camila Alves for over a year. Via his website he announced to the world that the couple were expecting their first child together - describing the time as a "new and miraculous chapter in my life."
Matthew and Camila tied the knot in 2012 in his homestate Texas. Together they have three children: son Levi Avles McConaughey (b. 2008), daughter Vida Alves McConaughey (b. 2010), and son Livingston Alves McConaughey (b. 2012).
Described as "a one-man endorphin rush", Matthew is adored by fans not only for his rugged good looks but for his down-to-earth approach. Happiest wearing a pair of jeans and at the wheel of his car, he prefers beer to Dom Perignon and calls his mum on Sundays.
In 2013, the star achieved further success for the biographical film Dallas Buyers Club
. The drama about an AIDS patient's crusade to help fellow sufferers gain access to crucial medication earned him a Golden Globe for Best Actor and an Academy Award nomination.