The plot of EDtv has come true in so many ways, but this really was the last thing we were expecting.
Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson played brothers in the 1999 comedy about a video store clerk who agrees to let his entire life become a reality show. And while countless ordinary people have followed suit since by letting cameras follow them around to entertain the masses, the possibility has now been floated that the brother part of their cinematic scenario might be the realest part of all.
"In Greece a few years ago, we're sitting around talking about how close we are and our families," McConaughey said on Kelly Ripa's Let's Talk Off Camera podcast in April while reflecting on his and Harrelson's 25-year friendship. "And my mom is there, and she says, 'Woody, I knew your dad.' Everyone was aware of the ellipses that my mom left after 'knew.' It was a loaded K-N-E-W."
So, he continued, the actors "did some math" and it turned out that Harrelson's dad, who'd been in and out of jail, was on furlough (and no longer married to the Cheers star's mother) during a time that coincided with McConaughey's parents' second divorce.
Jim and Kay McConaughey remarried and remained so until Jim's death in 1992. Charles Harrelson died in a federal supermax facility in Colorado, where he was serving two life sentences for murder, in 2007.
Of his now 91-year-old mom's possible encounter with Harrelson's dad, McConaughey—who was born Nov. 4, 1968—said there could be "receipts and places out in West Texas where there might have been a gathering, or a meeting, or a 'knew' moment."
Yet he and Harrelson, 62, have never taken DNA tests to confirm one way or another, the Oscar winner noting that, at this point, "I got a little more skin in the game."
And Harrelson, no slouch in the acting gene pool with an Emmy and three Oscar nominations, was entertaining the notion.
"I'll just say there is some veracity to that thought," he said on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert a few days after McConaughey's interview dropped, noting that the way Kay told the story was particularly suspect.
"It was the ellipses I found a little troubling or interesting," the Cheers alum said. "'I knew your father.'"
But while that mystery continues to percolate, there are lots of celebrities who are definitely related, so scroll on to see the results of all of our true detective work:
(Originally published April 15, 2023, at 4 a.m. PT)