Matthew McConaughey and Trisha Yearwood Look Back on His Big Break in Her 1992 Music Video

"I basically gave you a career and now you're way more famous than me," Trisha Yearwood jokes to Matthew McConaughey about him starring in her "Walkaway Joe" music video

Matthew McConaughey is thanking Trisha Yearwood for his big break.

While guest-hosting The Ellen DeGeneres Show with husband Garth Brooks, the country singer asks guest McConaughey if he recalls starring in the 1992 music video for her hit song, "Walkaway Joe." Recalling the time, the Oscar winner, 51, shares memories from making the project and getting the audition call while in college.

"I want to thank you because I've never had the chance to publicly thank you ... for being in the video for 'Walkaway Joe.' It's been almost 25, 30 years ago now!" says Yearwood, 56, to which the actor responds, "Over 30 years and we're finally— Yes, I remember this very well."

"I always tell everybody that this was one of your first things that you did and that I basically gave you a career and now you're way more famous than me," Yearwood adds with a laugh. "But do you have any memory of doing that? Because we were not in the same place. You were in Austin and I was in Nashville."

Matthew McConaughey and Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood
Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

Want to get the biggest stories from PEOPLE every weekday? Subscribe to our new podcast, PEOPLE Every Day, to get the essential celebrity, entertainment and human interest news stories Monday through Friday.

McConaughey says, "I remember I was wearing a pager at the time, because I remember I was in school at the University of Texas and anytime that pager would go off, and they'd say, 'Can you get to San Antonio and audition for this beer commercial or this music video?' I'd bam! Out of class. I'm out of here, trying it out. Well, I was about 0 for 18, and then I got the pager came on to come try out for this video, and I got that one."

The music video, which also features Don Henley on vocals, shows the 23-year-old McConaughey chasing after a girl.

"I remember we spent a day— you know, they used to tell stories in the videos, much different than they do now," he recalls. "It's a little story, the Walkaway Joe, they meet. It's a great day. They go swimming. They hang out. They run hand in hand. They end up back at a 'motel,' not a hotel. Everything went well, and all of a sudden old Walkaway Joe just slips on out the door. He's the wrong kind of guy."

Yearwood jokes with a laugh, "I feel like we should do this video again maybe at some point."

Talking about his evolving career in an interview for AARP The Magazine's latest cover story, McConaughey shared details about his decision to quit acting in romantic comedies and in order to pursue more dramatic roles.

How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days
Michael Gibson/Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock

"I wanted to do work that reflected my personal vitality. But no matter how much of a pay cut I would take, dramas were not being offered to me. So I quit," he said, explaining that his wife, Camila Alves McConaughey, helped him through.

"It was scary," he admitted. "But Camila said, 'If we're going to do this, we're not going to half-ass it.'"

With the support of his wife and his commitment to rebranding himself and his acting career, the actor's decision to distance himself from romantic comedies paid off in the long run. In 2014, McConaughey won the Oscar for Best Actor at the Academy Awards for his performance as electrician and rodeo cowboy Ron Woodroof in the award-winning drama Dallas Buyers Club.

"I unbranded those two years to then rebrand," McConaughey said. "The dramas came my way and I jumped on them."

Related Articles