Matthew McConaughey was once one of Hollywood’s hottest leading men starring in romantic comedies like The Wedding Planner, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and Failure to Launch.
Did you know that his first break actually took place on the small screen in a ‘90s country music video for Trisha Yearwood’s “Walkaway Joe?”
In the clip, a 23-year-old McConaughey plays a love interest to a 17-year-old “average Jane.” But he doesn’t function as the chivalrous, and somewhat innocent character that fans often see in the movies. Instead, he acts out the part of a young man who misbehaves in a relationship.
In the video, McConaughey can be seen leaning against his hot rod, as his over-eager girlfriend naively runs to his beck and call, leaving her protective mother worried. McConaughey and his loyal lady go on all kinds of adventures together, from chasing each other in a cornfield to skinny-dipping in the lake.
All the while, powerhouse singer Yearwood and her duet partner, Don Henley of The Eagles, sing together in a dim-lit, empty house. Yearwood and Henley do a spectacular job of capturing the mood of the song with their pensive emotions, as they tell the story of the teenage girl’s fate. Before the video’s end, fans catch McConaughey leaving his girlfriend with a broken heart.
Talk about a hard lesson to swallow.
Interestingly enough, Yearwood admitted that she didn’t actually work alongside McConaughey during the making of the video.
“He was cast from local talent in Austin, Texas, where the footage was shot,” she told People of McConaughey, who would go on to win an Oscar for his role in Dallas Buyers Club. “The performance with Don Henley was shot in Nashville, so I never met Matthew. About 10 years ago, we were both at the Grammys and trying to connect but we kept missing each other.”
Yearwood does, however, claim partial responsibility for McConaughey’s rise to fame.
“Honestly, I’m so happy to see him recognized for his work in Dallas Buyers Club. And if he ever wants to be in another Trisha Yearwood video, I won’t make him audition,” she added with a laugh.
“Walkaway Joe,” co-penned by writers, Vince Melamed and Greg Barnhi, peaked at the number two spot on the Billboard country charts. Since its 1992 release, the timeless ballad has been covered by many artists, including Carrie Underwood, Kelsea Ballerini and Brandon Lay.