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The devastating and very public way Matt Damon and Minnie Driver first broke up

The former couple found love when starring together in Good Will Hunting

Matt Damon and Minnie Driver at the Mann Bruin Theatre in Westwood, California
Ahad Sanwari
Ahad Sanwari - New York
Senior WriterNew York
14 December 2023
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Matt Damon and Minnie Driver were on their way to becoming a Hollywood power couple when the sparks of romance first ignited back in 1997.

The two actors, both now 53, starred together in the movie Good Will Hunting, which Matt also co-wrote with best friend Ben Affleck, and fell in love while working together.

However, in 1998, their relationship abruptly came to an end, and it came as a devastating shock particularly to Minnie, who didn't even see it coming.

Minnie Driver and Matt Damon during 1997 Cartier International Polo in Windsor, United Kingdom.© Getty Images
Minnie and Matt began dating while making "Good Will Hunting" in 1997

The actress has stated in interviews that she first found out that their romance was over when Matt gave an interview to Oprah Winfrey and declared that he was, in fact, "single."

This came after a few public declarations of romance from Matt's end, who had appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman a month prior and said that the British actress "pretty much rocked my world."

Minnie gave an interview to the Los Angeles Times in July 1998, and revealed that she was shocked by the turn of events, and was upset by not only the way everything went down, but also the fact that she was being posited as a "victim."

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck at the 1998 Oscars, where they won the Best Original Screenplay award for Good Will Hunting© Getty Images
By the 1998 Oscars, the couple had already broken up

"It's horrendous breaking up with someone anyway, but to have it be so public and to be cast in a role that I would never play if they were paying me – this wronged woman!" she said. 

"It's unfortunate that Matt went on Oprah; it seemed like a good forum for him to announce to the world that we were no longer together, which I found fantastically inappropriate. Of course, he was busy declaring his love for me on David Letterman a month previously."

RELATED: Matt Damon reveals a couples therapy argument with wife Luciana Barroso secured his role on Oppenheimer

Matt has rarely mentioned At first, while she remained critical of the way things ended, the approach toward their relationship has since softened, as the About a Boy star has admitted to looking back on their brief romance more fondly.

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In an interview with The Telegraph in 2012, she said: "I'm always really sad that we didn't stay friends because it was absolutely incandescent making that film. It was a beautiful experience and I'm so proud of that time."

Good Will Hunting propelled the young Matt and Minnie to fame, with the former winning an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and the latter earning a nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

RELATED: Nicole Kidman's drastic appearance change – and how it won her an Oscar

A clip from the ceremony, which recently went viral, highlighted Minnie's sad look when Matt acknowledged her contribution to the film during his acceptance speech. In a comment under the video on Instagram, she wrote: "Matt had ended our relationship a few weeks before this, and was at the Oscars with his new gf… I was devastated.

Matt Damon and Luciana Damon attend Netflix's Extraction 2 New York Premiere at Jazz at Lincoln Center on June 12, 2023 in New York City.© Getty Images
Matt has been married to wife Luciana since 2005

"Wish I could have celebrated more and it was an amazing moment for all of us, and for this wonderful film!" she added.

Since then, however, it seems like they've put the past behind them. Matt has been married to Luciana Barroso since 2005 and they share four daughters. Minnie, meanwhile, is a mom to 15-year-old son Henry and is engaged to Addison O'Dea, her partner since 2019.

SEE: Matt Damon and Luciana Barroso's four daughters make rare red carpet appearance – see photos

In 2021, on an episode of the Keep It! podcast, Minnie revealed that she and Matt ran into each other with their families on the beach. "I did see Matt Damon on the beach and I had not had a conversation with him, seriously, since we made the film.

Addison O'Dea and Minnie Driver attend the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 09, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California.© Getty Images
Minnie is currently engaged to Addison O'Dea

"That was last summer and it was actually very nice to see him, and his kids and his wife, and it all felt quite middle-aged actually, which was reassuring."

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