Matt Damon counts marrying a “civilian” among one of the best decisions he’s ever made. Sharing his experience with the double-edged sword known as fame, the actor and father of four girls recently opened up to Esquire.
Matt Damon on wife Luciana and paparazzi attention: “I got lucky, I fell in love with a civilian. Not an actress and not a famous actress at that. Because then the attention doesn’t double—it grows exponentially. Because then suddenly everybody wants to be in your bedroom. But I don’t really give them anything. If I’m not jumping up and down on a bar, or lighting something on fire, or cheating on my wife, there’s not really any story to tell. They can try to stake me out, but they’re always going to get the same story—middle-aged married guy with four kids. So as long as that narrative doesn’t change too much, there’s no appetite for it.”
Matt Damon on child actors: “My mother thought it was child abuse. She literally did. She was a professor who specialized in early childhood development, and she thought putting a child onstage or in a commercial or in a movie was child abuse. So when I did Elysium with Jodie Foster, I asked her. I mean, she’s basically been acting since she was born. I figured, if anyone’s going to know, it should be her, right? So I asked her. And she sort of smiled and said, ‘It depends on the child.’”
On fame and longtime friend Brad Pitt: “If you can control the celebrity side of celebrity, then it’s worth it. I look at Brad—and I have for years—and when I’m with him I see the intensity of that other side of it. And the paparazzi and the insane level of aggression they have and their willingness to break the law and invade his space—well, I wonder about that trade. I remember telling him that I walk my kids to school, and his face just fell. He was very kind, but he was like, ‘You b-stard.’ Because he should be able to do that, too. And he can’t.”
It seems to me that Matt Damon is only partly right about how fame and paparazzi attention works. For example, Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick (an acting duo) walk their kids to school nearly every single day. Photographers are there, sure, but not hoards of them pestering the family. Every day they do the same exact thing, creating a library of similar photos that because of their commonness become less valuable.
Brad Pitt, on the other hand, is hardly ever seen out with his kids — especially not all of them at once and even more rarely with Angelina Jolie there too. The rarity of these photos makes them a hot commodity.
I feel a pang of pity for the father of six when I hear he feels he can’t walk his kids to school, but I wonder if he’s really tried, worked to make it monotonous like others have successfully done.