Matt Damon was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts on October 8, 1970. Damon began acting in high school, and attended Harvard University, majoring in English Literature. However, just 12 credits shy of getting his degree, he dropped out to pursue acting and moved to Los Angeles to live with his best friend Ben Affleck, and his brother Casey Affleck, according to People magazine.
His first role was in 1988’s Mystic Pizza with Julia Roberts.
Affleck and Damon sold Good Will Hunting in 1994 to Miramax for $600,000. That was when Damon’s life changed.
The action-packed Bourne series turned Damon into a blockbuster star, bringing his career to another level, beginning with the Bourne Identity in 2002, continuing to The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum, and now, the latest in the franchise Jason Bourne comes out in theaters July, 29.
The actor has won multiple Golden Globe awards, an Oscar, and has been nominated for Screen Actors Guild awards.
1. He’s Married With Children
Damon married Luciana Barroso 10 years ago, in December of 2005. According to E!, they met in 2003, she was tending bar in Miami, where he was filming a movie. They have three daughters, Isabella, Gia, and Stella, Damon has also raised Barroso’s daughter from a previous marriage, Alexia. Damon told E! while promoting The Martian, “She’s hung in there with me for 10 years, so she deserves a medal or something.”
He has mixed feelings about marriage, but loves being married to Barroso, according to Entertainment Tonight:
I think marriage is insane…It’s a crazy idea but I love being married to my wife. So I wouldn’t tell anybody else about their relationship. But I’m lucky I found my wife. And I guess maybe, if there’s any secret … it’s to feel lucky.
Ten years after meeting, Damon and Luciana renewed their wedding vows with a lavish celebration held on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, according to People. “It was a very family-oriented and happy celebration,” a source told People. Jimmy Kimmel officiated and Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner were in attendance. “It was a beautiful and relaxing weekend for guests. Matt and Luci went all out.”
2. He’s Politically and Environmentally Outspoken
According to The Guardian, Damon is a leftwing activist. Damon co-founded the safe-water charity water.org.
Damon has been a passionate public supporter of Barack Obama and was confident in healthcare reforms. He told The Guardian:
As disturbed as I am by a lot of the things that Obama has done and is doing, I would not have preferred a Romney presidency, that’s for sure. The alternative is even more frightening.
3. His Best Friend is Ben Affleck
According to Biography.com, Damon met a guy from two blocks down the road in Cambridge, Massachusetts when he was 10 years old. That guy was Ben Affleck and the two became best buds. “They played baseball (both are die-hard Boston Red Sox fans) and the fantasy game Dungeons and Dragons as well as attending movie double-features together,” says Biography.com. They went to the same high school, where Damon developed his passion for acting.
Years later, they two were still inseparable and the starred in and wrote 1997’s Good Will Hunting together.
Since then, they’ve continued to collaborate through Project Greenlight, a production company they founded together, and the actors regularly step out to support each other’s work.
Just last month on National Best Friends Day, Affleck gave his BFF a shoutout.
4. His Net Worth is $120 Million
According to GoBankingRates, Damon’s movies “have earned more than $6.18 billion worldwide,” and his net worth is $120 million.” While he had roles in films like Mystic Pizza, it wasn’t until Good Will Hunting that his career skyrocketed. He won the Oscar for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen with Ben Affleck for Good Will Hunting.
The Bourne series has helped boost his bank account. So far the series has pulled in nearly $500 million, and three Oscars, according to Collider.
5. Damon Wasn’t the First Actor to Play Bourne and He Almost Never Played Him
Brad Pitt, Russell Crowe and Sylvester Stallone were all offered the part before it fell into the hands Damon, according to IFC. MentalFloss reports that director Doug Liman felt Damon “best understood what he wanted to do with the material.”
It was his enthusiasm for director Doug Liman’s more frenetic vision that ultimately helped land him the part.
On top of that, Damon wasn’t even the first to play Jason Bourne. The TV movie adaptation of The Bourne Identity aired on ABC in 1988. Both versions are based on the novel of the same name by Robert Ludlum. The TV version was not exactly critically acclaimed, according to IFC, but it was a “more faithful version of Ludlum’s book.” Richard Chamberlain, of The Thorn Birds fame, played a Jason while “Charlie’s Angel” Jaclyn Smith played love interest Marie.