Matthew McConaughey Larry Gatlin
Source: Screen captures from YouTube Matthew McConaughey Larry Gatlin

Country music legend Larry Gatlin went public with his victory over addiction after his daughter recognized his personal story in Matthew McConaughey’s book “Greenlights.” Gatlin is hoping his story will help others realize they can also put their addictions behind them.

The 72-year-old’s daughter Kristen called him after reading the book. “She said to me, ‘Dad, you are in Matthew McConaughey’s book … I know that’s you,'” Gatlin says.

‘Part Five: Turn the Page’ of “Greenlights” focuses on a man who was consumed with his addiction without hope of overcoming it. But, the right words and encouragement got him on that path of recovery. That man is Country legend Larry Gatlin. And, this happened at the height of his musical career. 

Encounter With Texas Football Coach Darrell Royal

“I remember the day, it was October something of 1984,” Gatlin recalls. “[University of Texas Football] Coach [Darrell] Royal and I were talking. We had hit it off right away. For me, he was one of those people that you meet, and you instantly don’t have to explain anything to each other. We were at this Pro-Am party at this golf tournament, and Coach Royal caught me with white powder on my nose.”

Doubtful of his ability to overcome his addition, Gatlin came up with a laundry list of excuses as to why couldn’t succeed in rehab.

But, Royal’s simple advice helped cut through those excuses and change his life. 

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“He told me, ‘Larry Wayne, I have never had any trouble turning the page in the book of my life,'” Gatlin recounts of the encounter. “He said to me, ‘It’s time you turned the page.'”

Those words were profound and made the needed mark to motivate him. Royal then took Gatlin to a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program in California.

“Coach Royal did not send me to treatment … he took me to treatment,” Gatlin says.

“Darrell knew what I was doing. He was one of the smartest and wisest men. And his wife? They both really did save my life. I think about it every day. Hopefully, I’ll be there to help somebody sometime like they did for me. I would be long dead if it hadn’t been for them.”

Unfortunately, Coach Royal died in in 2012 following a battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

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The Gatlin Brothers Music

Gatlin is most well-known for his band Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers.

He and his two brothers, Steve and Rudy, had numerous hits in the ’70s and ’80s, including “All The Gold In California” and “Broken Lady” released in 1975.

The song won him a Grammy award in 1976 for Best Country Song.

Take a listen:

Larry Gatlin Wants His Name In Matthew McConaughey’s “Greenlights”

Larry Gatlin spoke with McConaughey and asked him to include his name in the book. The singer believes his story will encourage others. 

Gatlin’s been sober for 37 years. He’s spoken about his addiction to many people, but never imagined his story would be in McConaughey’s book. 

He told People Magazine: 

“I was on a Zoom with him last month and I was like, ‘Put my name in the damn book,'” Gatlin laughs of the recent conversation he had with the accomplished actor.

“That made him laugh. And we went on to reminisce talk about Coach Royal and how much we missed him and how much he had an effect on our lives. And in terms of Matthew, I mean, that man is going to shake the world up. I think this book is not only going to help people get in touch with Matthew, but also get in touch with themselves about being honest.”

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“Lord knows that I have done some things I wish I hadn’t done,” concludes Gatlin, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 in early March. He’s since recovered.

“I’m so very grateful to Matthew,” Gatlin says of the 51-year-old Oscar-winning actor. “You never know when what we read is going to change our lives. I was able to kick my addictions thanks to my wife and my family and my God and an incredible program of recovery. But now, I truly believe there will be people that will read Greenlights and they are going to thank McConaughey for putting my story in there.”

“But it brought me to right here, right now, sitting on this back porch on this swing watching my wife [Janis] chase away the bees from her honeysuckle plants. Life is so very good. And quite frankly, I’m proud to know Matthew and I’m thankful for him. But yeah, put my name in the book son!”

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