Matt Damon: the lesson of a love scandal and the crushing crush on an Argentine waitress in Miami

Matt Damon likes to keep a low profile and focus on his family and career (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
Matt Damon likes to keep a low profile and focus on his family and career (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)

No one would dream of calling him by his full and last name, Matthew Damon. He is always Matt, the actor who managed to build a successful career, based on enormous talent, simplicity and more qualities that made him a respected actor. Every action, police, drama or sci-fi movie he stars in turns to gold. Without exaggeration, the actor managed to become one of the highest grossing in history. He also knew how to earn the status of sex symbol. Although with that facet he did not get along at all. That thing about getting naked and having sex scenes he said makes him uncomfortable.

People magazine went so far as to list him as the world’s most attractive man alive and he did not spare praise when describing him as “the golden boy with the crooked smile who is smart, charming and honest, with a sense of humor, irresistible, a rock solid man and heartbreaking humility”. In a few words, we are talking about a man who knew how to conquer both the audience and the media. He is practically clean of scandals, although he had them in his youth. Before forming a family with the Argentine Luciana Barroso, outside the world of Hollywood, he had some famous girlfriends and was under the magnifying glass of gossip magazines. It is not known if he is sorry but he swore never to go out with an actress again.

American actor, screenwriter and producer Matthew Paige Damon was born on a day like today 52 years ago, in Cambridge, in the State of Massachusetts. Her father Kent Damon is a stockbroker, real estate agent, of English and Scottish descent and her mother is Nancy Carlsson-Paige, a professor of early childhood education at Lesley University, of Swedish and Finnish origin. Matt has an older brother, Kyle, another artist. He is a sculptor. The family lived in Newton until his parents divorced, when Matt was 2 years old. He then went with his and Kyle’s mother to Cambridge.

Matt and Ben have been great friends since they were teenagers. They lived a few blocks away and wrote a script together that changed their lives. Next to Ben, Matt seems short, but he measures 1.78 meters ( REUTERS / Yara Nardi)
Matt and Ben have been great friends since they were teenagers. They lived a few blocks away and wrote a script together that changed their lives. Next to Ben, Matt seems short, but he measures 1.78 meters ( REUTERS / Yara Nardi)

At Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in that city, he met his great friend: Ben Affleck. He went on a theater course. And in the classroom of that campus they began to co-write the first draft of The unstoppable Will Hunting (1997), which he himself would also star in. That script would change their lives and mark their friendship on fire. For that work they received an Oscar for best original screenplay and opened the doors to future nominations as actors.

During high school, thanks to his teachers, Matt was able to discover his passion for acting and began to make his first appearances as an extra. He lacked little and nothing to be received in English Literature at the prestigious Harvard University, but the performance won his interest to finish the race. In the middle of the studies he had debuted as an actor in the romantic comedy Mystic’s Pizza and it was already decided. He decided to try his luck in Los Angeles, with Ben and Casey Aflleck.

They both started from the bottom. They didn’t have enough resources. Damon said that because of his participation in the film Old Boys (1995), by Tommy Lee Jones, earned $20,000. And that money served the two friends, who also shared a bank account, to dedicate themselves fully to writing the famous script and not have to occupy their time with other jobs.

Matt knew how to choose his films and in two decades he built a career to full theaters and directed by the best filmmakers in the industry, such as Gus Van Sant, Scorsese, the Coen Brothers, Clint Eastwood, Spielberg, Coppola, Minghella, Soderbergh and Redford.

Matt Damon playing an astronaut who gets stranded on Mars
Matt Damon playing an astronaut who gets stranded on Mars

He played Private James Francis Ryan, in Saving Private Ryan, the second highest grossing film of that 1998 with a turnover of 482 million dollars. Then came another fundraising film, The talented Mr. Ripleyalongside Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow, who was later far surpassed by Ocean’s Eleven, along with Pitt and Clooney, with $450,717,150 thousand.

Damon takes his characters very seriously and puts his body into them, both in action scenes and in characterizations that may include significant weight gain or loss. for the film in honor of the truthIn 1996, he lost 40 kilos. And in 2009, to make the informer, by Steven Soderbergh, gained more than 30 kilos and lost them immediately. The American is also famous for not wanting doubles for risk scenes.

One of the curiosities that the media noticed is that many of his characters have to be rescued from very distant or dangerous places. Internet users were not far behind, they made all kinds of memes and calculations of the value of all the rescue missions to save Matt: about 900 billion dollars. His life was in danger and they had to go for him in Saving Private Ryan (his mother had already lost three children in World War II), in green zone, when he is kidnapped by an Iraqi soldier; in interstellaris stranded on a frozen planet, and in Rescue Mission, where he is left for dead on the planet Mars, but survives and is left alone living 400 days on a potato-based diet. Scott Mendelson wrote for the magazine Forbes that “the box office shows that we love to see Matt Damon be rescued”, since his three most successful films focus on a mission to bring him back: Saving Private Ryan (1998), Interstellar (2014) and Mission Rescue (2015 ).

his low profile

about his private life The actor says that if they photographed his life from morning to night it would be extremely boring. “They gave up on me. What sells is sex, scandals and everyone knows that I am married and that I am a father. It doesn’t make sense for them to wait for me outside my house.”

His life was not always “boring” for the magazines. Before meeting and settling down with Barroso, she had a couple of rocking relationships. In 1997 she began dating Minnie Driver, while they shared a set on In Search of Destiny. They had been nominated for an Oscar for their roles. Everything was more than fine until a few months later he was invited to the popular Oprah Winfrey show where he said that he was “single”. This is how Driver found out, through a television program, that his relationship was not the one he imagined, in a rather unpleasant situation.

Winona Ryder's kiss to Matt Damon at the Golden Globe Awards for his role in "The talented Mr. Ripley."
Winona Ryder’s kiss to Matt Damon at the Golden Globe Awards for his role in “The Talented Mr. Ripley.”

As if that were not enough, Winona Ryder bursts into the middle of all this. They say that she had introduced them to Ben Affleck’s girlfriend at the time, Gwyneth Paltrow. Both young stars of the time fell in love. In 1998 they were shown holding hands at one of the Oscar parties. Later, the Reality Bites actress accompanied Damon to the Golden Globes, when he was nominated for The talented Mr. Ripley. The relationship lasted two years. She later became romantically associated with Penelope Cruz through some photos. So much exposure led the actor to make the drastic decision to never go out with a famous woman again, nor expose himself in the media in his courtships.

In April 2003, he met Luciana Barroso, from Salta, in a bar on Miami’s South Beach, while he was recording the film Stick to you, with Eva Mendes. She was 24 years old, worked as a waitress and was already the mother of a 4-year-old girl. Originally the film was going to be shot in Hawaii, but fate made her move to Miami and they both met.

The love story told by Matt is that in the middle of filming his teammates dragged him to a bar, because he had no intention of going. And when he saw the bartender from Salta, it was love at first sight.

A 2007 photo of Damon and Barroso
A 2007 photo of Damon and Barroso

She said that they started talking because he hid behind the bar, since a group of fans had surrounded him. “She appeared, looked at me and asked: What are you doing here?, recalled the actor in an interview. The story sounds like something out of a romantic comedy, because he said he worked for her that night. “He made me a lot of money in tips.”

Damon said that what he felt that day for Argentina was as if “he was struck by lightning.” He felt that he was the right person. And to her, right away it was just Matt. From this meeting, they began to go out and she, from attending a bar in front of the beach, became the partner of one of the most important stars in Hollywood. Thus, without scales.

They got engaged and married in 2005. in a civil ceremony in Manhattan, with very low profile. The daughters were not long in coming: Isabella (2006), Gia (2008), Stella (2010). And Alexia, Luciana’s daughter from a previous relationship, was adopted by Matt.

Since 2012, the family has lived in a mansion in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles, but they also spend time in one of the most expensive apartments in Brooklyn, worth 15 million dollars, overlooking the Statue of Liberty.

Both are very happy together and are proud of the family they made. When they visit Argentina, they revolutionize every place they go. They have been married for 17 years and make up one of the most stable couples in Hollywood.

As much as he has millions left over and is known for his commitment to society and to the planet (he is a co-founder of water.org, which fights against water waste and lack of resources), he regrets having discarded films that were an event, not only for the acting, also for the economic. In an interview in The Chris Evans Breakfast Show said he didn’t want to know how much he had lost by saying he didn’t star in Avatar in 2009. But the presenter made the calculation. Cameron had offered him 10% and it became the highest-grossing film of all time, which meant $300 million less for his pocket. He with a sense of humor said that that is why he will go down in history. “You will never meet an actor who has turned down more money.”

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Matt Damon: the lesson of a love scandal and the crushing crush on an Argentine waitress in Miami