An Irish mum has apologised to Hollywood star Matt Damon after a private photo she took of him near his home in Ireland was leaked on social media and went viral across the world.
The star of Good Will Hunting and the Talented Mr Ripley has been living with his family in Dalkey near Dublin since the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown. He’d been in filming the new Ridley Scott movie, The Last Duel, and decided to stay in Ireland rather than return to the United States.
He’s often seen out about in the area with his family on and on one occasion bumped into Siobhan Berry of popular Instagram site mummycooks. It was all very friendly and Damon posed for a photo with Siobhan’s daughters, Ashleigh and Jessica.
The two families agreed that the photo should remain private but then in it was suddenly appearing everywhere on social media. Damon was holding a supervalu bag, which prompted widespread speculation that he’d been out buying cans of beer.
Damon didn’t seem to have minded about the leak and joked about it when he appeared on local radio, saying he wasn’t carrying cans of beer, the bag contained towels as they’d swimming in the sea.
Now Siobhan has posted on Instagram to apologise to Damon and explain how the photo came to be leaked.
She wrote: “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 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 feel-good 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 and Jessica (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.”
Meanwhile, Damon has been talking about how much he loved Ireland and couldn’t think of a better place to be during the lockdown.