Matthew McConaughey and Camila Alves are one of Hollywood’s happiest (and most beautiful) couples and, rather fittingly, their love story reads like a rom-com script. 

While the Oscar winner was instantly smitten, the Brazilian model didn’t even recognize him at first. Alves wasn’t impressed by his movie star status and McConaughey had to put in some work to prove his worth.

As their attraction strengthened, it eventually gave way to a lifelong connection. But none of that would have ever happened, had they not been at the right place at the right time one fateful night in 2006… 

What we can learn from Matthew McConaughey and Camila Alves’ relationship?

There are two sides to every story  

If there’s one thing that Matthew McConaughey and Camila Alves’ first encounter proves, it’s that love at first sight can be one-sided. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. 

It was 2006 when McConaughey, who’s adamant that he’s “not a club guy,” was enjoying a guys’ night out at “Joan’s, a club on Sunset Boulevard.” He was “making margaritas at the table” when he first set eyes on her. And the way Matthew describes his first impression is nothing short of cinematic.

Out of the corner of my eye, this aqua green figure went sort of floating across the frame about 20 feet in front of me.

Matthew McConaughey to PeopleTV

As he tried to get the mystery figure’s attention by waving, it hit him: “This is not the kind of woman you call over across the room.” Making the wise decision to walk over instead, the actor invited the Brazilian beauty and her friends to join his table.

She eventually did, but it was clear she wasn’t starstruck. Deciding to keep it real, she spoke her native tongue, Portuguese, and immediately put him to the test.

McConaughey didn’t miss a beat. He responded in both Portuguese and Spanish and, as he joked with PeopleTV, “I understood Portuguese better than I’ve ever understood her in our nine years of dating!”

However, when you ask Camilla about that night, her take of their first meeting is completely different. As she recalled, “We met at Hyde, of all places. We had two interactions at the bar. The first interaction, I did not know who he was. At the time he had a really long beard, and he had this rasta hat. He was all covered up, and I didn’t really realize who he was,” she confessed.

It didn’t click until McConaughey’s pal, Lance Armstrong, intervened, albeit with an undesirable effect. “Lance came to talk to me,” she continued. “You knew they were always together, so I’m like, ‘OK, I’m outta here. I’m going to the other side of the room!’”

Timing is everything

As perfect as the couple’s love story may seem, it wasn’t their connection that made it a success. Rather, it was all about timing. As McConaughey explained in 2017, “It’s gotta be the right person but it has to be the right time.”

How many people in your past have you met where you go, ‘Ooh, if I would have actually been hanging out with them at the time I was ready, would they have been right?’ I don’t know the answer.

What he does know is that “it was the right time for [him].”

Part of that certainty came from the fact that he was itching to start a family, but he was by no means searching for love. A distinction he made clear during an interview with Cigar Aficionado: “The clock was ticking — I was about to be 40 and my plan was to be married and have kids by that age. But I didn’t want to play the game of starting to feel anxious because, with too much anxiety, you can’t find a mate. And then you make a hasty decision.”

Matthew assured PeopleTV that he was in no way unhappy with being single, which proves that love manages to find you when you are not looking.

“I was not looking,” he said. “I was very happily single. And healthily single, so I was not looking. I was sleeping well, I was spiritually sound, I was good with hanging with me.”

When you know, you know

That was certainly the case for Matthew McConaughey. As the actor told PeopleTV: “We went out on our first date three nights [after meeting at the club] and I knew then that the next night after that I wanted to go on another date. And the next night after that, I wanted to go on another date. And I’ve been wanting to go on a date with her for the last nine years. And not with anybody else.” 

Reminiscing about what made him feel so certain, he revealed it was “the self-respect she had for herself” and “the way [he] understood her and her relationship with family” and “the way she respected [him] but never took anything for granted.”

The feeling was mutual and, in July 2008, the lovebird had their first child, son Levi, then welcomed daughter Vida in January 2010. Son Livingston followed in December 2012.

They grew into marriage 

Deciding to do things their own way, McConaughey and Alves had two children before getting engaged on Christmas Day 2011 and saying “I do” the following June in a secret at-home ceremony in Austin. It wasn’t the conventional order of things, but there was a very specific reason for it. 

During an interview with People in 2012, Alves admitted to being surprised they got married at all.

I think it’s something that we evolved to,” she told the magazine. “I was never the girl that grew up saying I want to get married. I actually told my parents to not expect me to get married.

Camila continued, revealing how she was proven wrong: “The main thing for me is to make sure our home is peaceful, that it’s healthy, that the kids are good. I didn’t know how important [the wedding] was, and how really truly special it was, until I went through the ceremony.”

McConaughey further explained their thought process to GQ in 2014: “I had to get to the point where I saw it as more than just the thing to do. I wanted to really want to.”

He revealed that they “did a lot of reading and talked to a lot of people that had been divorced, a lot of people that had been happily married.”

They also spoke to their pastor, before finally reaching an understanding that marriage was “not a destination” but “the beginning of an adventure that [they] are taking together.”

They’re a team on all fronts 

Whether it’s something as simple as decorating or something as life-changing as raising kids, McConaughey and Alves are a team on all fronts.

For example, when they first got together, the actor decided to sell his home so they could buy a property together. Noting that they could have simply moved into his place, he told Esquire the reason behind his reasoning.

I thought, ‘I found the woman I want to do it with, the woman I want to make a family with, hopefully live our life out together, [so] she needs to have 50 percent of that’. I mean, it’s a lot easier for me to be at 100 percent. I’d always been 100 percent. It’s braver for me at 50 percent.

They’re also 50-50 when it comes to parenting and their outlook on life. As the actor once told People, “The main thing is that my wife and I, Camila, we have a similar moral bottom line.”

It’s the little things

Over the years, both McConaughey and Alves have repeatedly been asked about their secret to a successful union and, as it turns out, it’s the little things that really count. As Alves told Us Weekly, they do “a lot of staying at home, cooking together or getting a hotel room that is 10 minutes away from the house.”

It’s also imperative to love and appreciate one another for who you really are. As he told InStyle, Matthew elaborated, “neither one of us have really tried to change the other one…If anything, she pushes me to be more of myself and I hope I do the same for her.”

Yes, timing is everything but their relationship teaches us more

Matthew and Camila are proof that timing is an integral part to the success of any relationship. Once you feel ready for love, you need to be open to the possibilities. This does not mean that you need to be frantically searching.

When someone special does present themselves, remember to be true to yourself. Because when you find your perfect match, they’ll love the real you, without any question or doubt. So yes, timing is important but so is being true to yourself.

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