There are some ANZ bank customers on the Central Coast of NSW who probably don’t realise that a young Matthew McConaughey was handing them their money back in 1988.
Back then, McConaughey was on a Rotary student exchange. Having already graduated high school in Texas, he struggled with returning to a classroom in Australia.
“I left America with a car, a job and some cash in my pocket, a girlfriend and some awful freedom,” he told GQ. “Then suddenly I got there and there were school uniforms and I was writing creative English papers.”
When McConaughey started skipping classes, the principal suggested he do work experience instead. That’s where the ANZ bank came into it – along with 10 other jobs, including carpentry and helping out golf pros.
Looking back, McConaughey says that year was one of the most important of his life.
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“I was forced to spend time on my own. I did more reading and writing than I had done in the 18 years prior. I was forced to check in with myself and that was a big rite of passage in manhood for me.”
McConaughey had grown up in a stable family unit, or so he thought. His parents – schoolteacher mum Kay and football player-turned-businessman dad Jim – actually divorced twice, but didn’t tell their kids.
“We didn’t know they ever got divorced!” McConaughey told Elle. “We thought Mum was on extended vacation. I don’t think I knew until after Dad died that those two vacations were divorces.”