LOS ANGELES – Matt Damon is surrounded. There are lovely ladies all around him, but don't alert the tabloids – it has nothing to do with him being the star of Contagion, which currently reigns supreme at the box office. The estrogen squad actually surrounds the actor at home. More specifically, his wife, interior designer Luciana Barroso, and their four daughters: Alexia (Barroso's daughter from a previous union), Isabella, 4, Gia, 2, and a brand new infant daughter, Stella.
"I still think that I'm the guy who won the lottery," Damon says of his female-filled reality. But you could say that about his outstanding career as well. Contagion is just his latest in a long list of extremely successful films. Directed by Steven Soderbergh, the plot revolves around Mother Nature taking further wrath on humans when a bat and pig interact and produce a killer virus. Damon plays Mitch, a husband who is so grief-stricken after losing his wife (played by Gwyneth Paltrow) to the virus that he goes overboard protecting his teen daughter as the disease sweeps Minneapolis, Chicago, London, Paris, Tokyo, and Hong Kong.
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In real life, Damon chills out from all this cinematic stress at home. I caught up with him recently to find out more about his movie, as well as his romantic and comforting life with his girls:
First of all, congrats on turning 40 last year. Or is that just a misprint. You look like you're 30.
I wish it was a misprint. I'm on the other side of the hill now. I'm more puzzled by it. I don't feel like 40. But then again, I've been working consistently for 15 years and I have four kids. How did all this happen? It's all wonderful.
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Tell us a little bit about Contagion. You have a tough scene where you find out your wife has passed away. Was that tough to do?
Very hard. At first, I said, "How do I do this scene? It's five minutes into the movie. Who cares if she dies? The audience isn't invested yet." I said to Steven, "Should I do…." Steven just said, "Should you do, the slump?" We talked to doctors who deliver death news and they told us that many men just slump a little and nothing registers when they hear this kind of news. They hear their wife is dead, slump a little and say, "OK, can I talk to her?" It just doesn't register.
On a much happier note, you met your wife in 2003 in Miami and got married in 2005. Do you think it was fate?
When I look back, meeting my wife was one of the most incredible things that has ever happened to me. I can't imagine life without her. Then I think about everything else that happened to us, like having four kids, and I feel very blessed. I think you just have to be open to what happens in your life. You can't always plan everything, especially in your personal life. All that stuff happens by some series of coincidences. You just have to be open. Matt Damon Spill His Secrets To A Strong Marriage