Matthew McConaughey is getting nostalgic on social media this week, sharing a throwback picture from his time as an exchange student in Australia as a teenager.
The Dallas Buyers Club actor, who is now 51 years old, posed shirtless in the picture, which was taken back in 1988 when he stayed in New South Wales for several months as a 19-year-old. He elaborated on this time in his life within his memoir, Greenlights, appropriately adding the book’s title as a hashtag in the post’s caption on Thursday.
While the photo seems to show McConaughey having a good time, his experience down under wasn’t exactly positive.
In his memoir, McConaughey tells fans about the comparison between life back in Texas--where he was voted ‘Most Handsome’ at school, scored straight A’s, and owned a red sports car--to his less-luxurious time in Warnervale, on New South Wales’ Central Coast.
In 1988, a teenage Matthew landed in Sydney and found himself nicknamed “Macka.” He was enrolled at an “awkward” high school where he complained that everyone wore uniforms and played tag at lunch.
“No one wanted to party and the chicks were not digging me,” he wrote.
In his retelling of the story, the star reveals that he wasn’s so happy with his adoptive family in Australia after finding out they didn’t live on the “outskirts of Sydney” so much as down a dirt road, about 106km to the north.
During his time abroad, he worked six different jobs, including as a bank teller for ANZ and a lawyer’s assistant. He also spent nine months being abstinent and even became a vegetarian who shrunk to 130 pounds, eating meals consisting of nothing but tomato sauce and iceberg lettuce.
While the experience wasn’t all positive, in his book, McConaughey acknowledges that his main host family were “kind hearted” and “generous,” though he also described the year as “torturous” and “a livin’ mental hell” without the trappings of his previous life.
“We have to be thrown off balance to find our footing,” Matthew said of the experience. “I wouldn’t have the life I have now without that trip. I was forced inward.”
“All those crutches I had back home, all those green lights I had, I didn‘t have any of them,” he continued. “I didn’t have anyone to rely on; I didn’t have a mum, a dad, a friend, a girlfriend, golf clubs, money, a paid-for car — any of that. I was forced to find my own identity and measure what I believed in and didn’t believe in in the world on my own.”