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Matthew McConaughey on what he learned from his parents' complicated relationship

The actor said his parents fought intensely, while also sharing a passionate love story.
/ Source: TODAY

In his new memoir, “Greenlights,” Matthew McConaughey pulls back the curtain on the complex relationship between his mother and father when he was a child. Despite the physical confrontations, the Oscar-winning actor says his parents truly loved each other.

“My mother's read the book and said, ‘Every one of those you told are true on me and your father, but I wish you would've added some more of the times when we were sitting around hugging and having a great time, which was 99% of the time,'" he told Hoda Kotb Monday on TODAY.

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McConaughey, 51, said his parents may have had a complicated relationship, but it was one that could withstand just about anything.

“My mom and dad were divorced twice, married three times,” he said. “If that was inverted, the love would not have won. They would've been divorced three times. I think I tell those sort of violent stories 'cause I was like, ‘Oh, it's being tested. It could break.’ But in hindsight it was like, ‘No, it could never break. It never had a chance of breaking.’”

Today, the “Magic Mike” star is one of Hollywood’s most sought-after leading men. He’s married to Brazilian-American model Camila Alves, with whom he has three children, Levi, 12, Vida, 10, and Livingston, 7.

McConaughey’s father died in 1993 when the actor was five days into shooting “Dazed and Confused.” He said he doesn’t classify any of the violence that took place between his parents as abuse.

“I'm not in denial of what happened, and what I saw was not abuse,” he said. “My mom said, ‘That's what I needed to communicate.’ My mom, who's 88, is in the other room, would be coming here right now and go, 'I'm the one who started every one of those fights. Jim was the peaceful one going, 'Kay, can we just talk?'”

McConaughey’s comments echo earlier remarks he made to Sunday TODAY host Willie Geist about how his parents raised him and his siblings.

"I was scared at the moment, but even then and immediately after that, I didn't ever question the love that Mom and Dad had or the love that they gave us," he told Geist.

McConaughey knows all about giving, too. He serves as creative director with Wild Turkey, honoring people who work in their community and saluting them for their efforts.

“We started the Give Thanks Initiative where we could go in, shine a light on somebody who's giving back to their own communities that's not looking for a spotlight,” he said Monday on TODAY. “We're calling them the local legends, and that's who we're saying thank you to.”