Matt Damon’s eldest daughter contracted coronavirus while the actor was stranded in Dublin with the rest of his family.
The Hollywood A-lister has been living in affluent Dublin suburb Dalkey since March, after lockdown meant that he couldn’t leave Ireland.
Matt had been in Dublin working on the new Ridley Scott movie The Last Duel when coronavirus struck and made sure that he, wife Luciana Barroso and their other three children would be chilling in the Irish capital for a while.
And the 49-year-old has revealed that daughter Alexia got coronavirus in New York City.
The 20-year-old – Matt’s wife Luciana’s daughter with ex-husband Arbello Barroso – did not accompany Matt, Luciana and her sisters Isabella, Gia and Stella to Ireland while the actor filmed as she was attending college in the States.
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Speaking to Graham O’Toole and Nathan O’Reilly on Spin 103.8’s Fully Charged, Matt said: ‘Our oldest daughter is in college, she’s in New York City. She had Covid really early on, along with her roommates and got through it fine.
‘But everybody’s ok. Obviously for Lucy’s mum and my mum, it’s scary for that generation.
‘I think we’ve all got the message now, everyone’s doing the isolation and social distancing and hand-washing and everything we can to mitigate this but it’s frightening, certainly for our parents.’
The family will return to Los Angeles where they will reunite with Alexia – but that all depends on when they can leave Ireland.
Matt was first spotted in Dalkey around 13 March, and while the situation is almost too far-fetched for a romcom, he’s loving life in Dublin.
The star said: ‘It’s incredible. This is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.
‘It feels a little like a fairytale here. Bono lives over there, Enya lives over there’ – before revealing that he was FaceTiming the U2 frontman while sharing a postcode.
As the world realised that the Oscar-winner was isolating in a Dublin suburb, journalists, including Graham and Nathan, tried to ask for his whereabouts in community Facebook groups, but residents refused to hand out any info to protect their ‘glorious gem’.
Matt said: ‘I laughed so hard when I heard this story. That’s when I realised how great this place was and how protective everybody was.’
One picture that did make it online saw the Good Will Hunting star down by the seafront carrying a plastic carrier bag from supermarket SuperValu – with people joking that Matt looked like he was holding a bag of cans for an almighty session.
However, the real answer was a bit more sedate.
The actor laughed: ‘That bag, we just had a the towels. I was with the kids, we were taking a dip there. We didn’t show up with beach bags, we were just improvising.
‘I’m sure there were cans in there originally, we just had to take them out to put the beach towels in.’
Luckily for the Damon family, they were accompanied to filming by a teacher to continue their kids’ schooling on location, with Matt saying he felt ‘guilty’ that ‘we’ve got what nobody else has which is live human beings teaching our kids’.
And while Matt still has eight weeks of filming on The Last Duel ahead and may face a few more months in Ireland, he is already worried about going back to the US, where there have been 1.4 million cases of coronavirus and 83,000 deaths.
Calling Irish Taoiseach and doctor Leo Varadker a ‘bada*s’ for returning to work in a hospital one day a week, Matt said: ‘We were supposed to leave last week, but we’re staying until the end of the kids’ school year. It’s so peaceful and everybody’s handling it so well. We’re a bit worried about going home.
‘We don’t have adequate testing so there’s going to be another surge it looks like back home. There’s all these areas in America that it hadn’t really penetrated and now, y’know…’
The star may have even more of an insight into living in a pandemic, as the star of the 2011 film Contagion, which sees a virus ravage the world.
And Matt is not here for suggestions the coronavirus pandemic could not have been predicted.
He said: ‘Our screenwriter Scott Burns, I’ve talked to him a lot through this.
‘Anybody who says you couldn’t predict this, look at Contagion. We made a movie 10 years ago just by talking to experts. It’s tragic.’
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