Matt Damon’s secret lockdown ’fairytale’
US actor Matt Damon has firmly cemented his status as one of the world's nicest superstars after living a "fairytale" lockdown life in an Irish village.
The Good Will Hunting star has been staying in Dalkey, Ireland, on the outskirts of Dublin, since early March when he arrived with his family to finish shooting The Last Duel with Ridley Scott.
However with the world plunged into a pandemic shortly after, Damon, his wife Luciana Barroso and three younger daughters decided to stay put rather than hotfoot it home on a private jet.
News of The Departed star's presence in the area was at first a closely-guarded local secret, however word got out when he was pictured taking a swim with his towel in a supermarket bag and he phoned into a local radio station to give them the scoop of a lifetime.
"I honestly feel like I'm about to throw up … this doesn't seem real," said Nathan, of the Fully Charged with Graham and Nathan show.
"I don't know if you are aware but the Dalkey people are protecting you like a glorious gem," he said, mentioning his efforts to track him down via a local Facebook group.
Damon laughed at the news and said he had "no idea" but it made him "realise how great this place was."
"It's incredible, this is one of the most beautiful places we've ever been. Obviously what's going on in the world is horrible but for my family it timed out."
He said he moved there for what the family thought would be eight weeks to shoot the movie and brought teachers for their three younger children as they would be out of school.
"We've got what nobody else has which is actual live human beings teaching our kids. We feel guilty. We've got this kind of incredible set up in this place."
"It feels a little like a fairytale here."
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The day we met Matt Damon! . You may have seen this photo doing the rounds of late. Initially, we had no intention of sharing the photo but now that Matt’s been laughing and talking on the radio about it, I thought I'd tell you how I came to take this photo. We were out for a family swim and we bumped into Matt and his family. It was all very cool - no one else around…just his (and my family) enjoying the freezing cold water and having a laugh! As we were all leaving, he very politely obliged for a photo, leaning in with his @supervalu_irl bag keeping the social distance! . As he confirmed on the radio, he was holding a bag of swim gear and towels - not cans!! Both my husband and I agreed not to share the photo publicly but it got leaked through a family WhatsApp group a few days later and boom! it was then all over social media. We felt awful and really sorry about the whole situation; we wrote an apology letter to him but never got to deliver it. After hearing him on radio today, he obviously sees the funny side and the fact that the photo ultimately turned into one of the feelgood stories of the early summer. . While we never intended that the photo should leak anywhere, we were delighted that so many people – Matt included – got so much entertainment from the result. And the result? Irish people were delighted to welcome such a friendly and globally respected actor and activist to live amongst us while enjoying his privacy and one of the few good things that the virus has thrown up – precious and hassle-free time with his family in a country that respects and cherishes the important things in life. . Also, my daughters Ashleigh & Jessica @cookingwithjessica_ (aged 9 and 11) learnt a very valuable lesson. They now see how something private can so quickly go viral and spin out of control. . Anyhow, all’s well that ends well. . #mattdamon #cookingwithjessica #dalkey #lockdownlife
Meanwhile the woman behind the infamous photo has explained what happened the day she bumped into him having a swim at a local beach.
"We were out for a family swim and we bumped into Matt and his family. It was all very cool - no one else around … just his (and my family) enjoying the freezing cold water and having a laugh!" Siobhan Berry of Mummy Cooks wrote on Instagram.
"As we were all leaving, he very politely obliged for a photo, leaning in with his @supervalu_irl bag keeping the social distance!"
"As he confirmed on the radio, he was holding a bag of swim gear and towels - not cans!!"
She said the couple agreed not to share the photo but it leaked out via a family WhatsApp group.
"We felt awful and really sorry about the whole situation; we wrote an apology letter to him but never got to deliver it. After hearing him on radio today, he obviously sees the funny side and the fact that the photo ultimately turned into one of the feel-good stories of the early summer."
Damon also spoke about his role in Contagion - a film made nine years ago that has taken on an eerie second life during the pandemic.
"The whole thing, it's tragic and sad, I hope some good can come out of it. Luckily this isn't as lethal as it might have been so maybe this is a really good dry run for the big one," he said.
Originally published as Matt Damon's secret lockdown 'fairytale'