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Woody Harrelson Says Matthew McConaughey Could Be His Real Life Brother

There’s more than just a Texan drawl that could connect these actors.
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As two lovable Texans on the small screen of True Detectives it’s easy to dismiss the similarities between Woody Harrelson, 61, and Matthew McConaughey, 53, as the result of where they grew up.

However, McConaughey has just dropped a bombshell, suggesting that the two stars may actually be brothers.

He told Kelly Ripa’s Let’s Talk Off Camera podcast that the pair are considering completing a DNA test to confirm their parentage, after McConaughey’s mum left a less-than-subtle hint about her relationship with Harrelson’s father, convicted hitman Charles Voyde Harrelson.

“You know, where I start and where he ends, and where he starts and I end, has always been like a murky line,” McConaughey 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.

Woody Harrelson. (Credit: Image: Getty)
matthew mcconaughey
Matthew McConaughey. (Credit: Image: Getty)

“In Greece a few years ago, we’re sitting around talking about how close we are and our families. And my mom is there, and she says, ‘Woody, I knew your dad.’ Everyone was aware of the ellipses that my mom left after ‘knew.’ It was a loaded K-N-E-W.”

Apparently, they all did some maths and found that Harrelson’s father had been on furlough at the same time that McConaughey’s parents were in their second divorce (they were married three times and divorced twice).

“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 said.

Since this interview, Harrelson has made public comment on the debacle, suggesting that the DNA test holds more meaning for McConaughey than it does for himself.

“We want to go and (do a DNA) test, but for him, it’s a much more big deal,” Harrelson explained on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. “I mean he feels like he is losing a father. But I’m like, no, you’re gaining a different father and a brother.”

His comment echoed what McConaughey said on the podcast.

“Look, it’s a little easier for Woody to say, ‘Come on, let’s do [DNA tests],’ because what’s the skin in it for him?” he 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.”

Of course, it will also be a bit of an identity change for McConaughey whose dad lived a very different life to Harrelson’s.

Who Was Matthew McConaughey’s Dad?

Matthew McConaughey and his mother, Mary McCabe and father, James McConaughey. (Credit: Image: Getty)

Matthew McConaughey grew up in Texas with his father, James Donald McConaughey, and mother, Mary Kathlene McCabe.

James worked in the oil industry in west Texas, and was an accomplished American football player on the college scene. James and Mary were married and divorced three times, over the course of their lives. James died of a heart attack in 1992.

In an episode of Jada Pinkett Smith’s Red Table Talk, McConaughey’s mother Mary revealed that her husband, died while they were having sex.

“My husband died making love to me,” she says. “And I remember saying, when he fell back, I said, ‘What’s the matter big boy? I wear you out?’ No response, no response, and I’m thinking, ‘Oh my God, something’s wrong,’” she said.

McConaughey said it was something he had joked about with the kids before.

“He’d always told me and my brothers, ‘Boys, when I go, I’m gonna be makin love to your mother.’ And that’s what happened,” the actor wrote. “He’d had a heart attack when he climaxed. Yes, he’d called his shot all right.”

How Are Woody Harrelson And Matthew McConaughey Related?

While it’s still yet to be confirmed, the close friends and actors suspect that their relation is through Harrelson’s father, Charles Voyde Harrelson, a convicted felon. They think that McConaughey’s mother Mary may have been intimate with him during her second divorce and his furlough period.

Charles Harrelson led a very interesting life. The Telegraph reports that he was first convicted in 1973, for the 1968 murder of Texas grain dealer, Sam Degelia Jr.. His first trial ended in a jury deadlock, but his second with a sentence of 15 years. However, Harrelson was released early, after just five years, on good behaviour.

Does Charles Harrelson look like Matthew McConaughey? (Credit: Image: Charles Harrelson)

Just a few years after he was paroled, Harrelson was convicted of the murder of District Judge John H. Wood Jr., who was due to conduct a drug trial on a suspected drug dealer Jamiel “Jimmy” Chagra. The judge had been nicknamed ‘Maximum John’, due to his penchant for giving large prison sentences, and the prosecution alleged that Harrelson was paid to conduct the killing.

When Harrelson was arrested in September, 1980, he was embroiled in a six hour stand off with police, in which he was reportedly high on cocaine. He also confessed that he was involved in the assassination of ex-President JFK, although this has never been proven. He died in 2007, in a maximum-security prison in Florida.

Woody has made a few comments about his father’s history, particularly in relation to his conviction for the killing of Maximum John.

“I think that it was not a fair trial, especially because the guy who supposedly hired my father to commit the murder [Chagra] was later acquitted,” he told journalist Barbara Walters in an interview.

“I’m not saying my father is a saint, but I think he’s innocent of [killing Judge John H. Wood Jr.].”

Brothers from another father? (Credit: Image: Getty)

If Matthew McConaughey’s mother’s admission is correct, it would mean that she had relations with Charles Harrelson in early February 1969. This would have been after the killing of Sam Degelia Jr., and in between his court appearances being tried for the crime.

Woody Harrelson was just eight when Matthew McConaughey was born.

The potential brother relationship these two actors have is only getting closer, with the two set to appear in a comedy series, Brother From Another Mother for Apple TV+. It’s a funny title, given that if the rumours are true, they would be brothers from the same mother.

For now, we will have to wait and see if they decide to get further testing to confirm the rumours.

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