Matthew McConaughey on Lance Armstrong: 'I Was Mad'

nike plus human race austin 2008

In the aftermath of the Lance Armstrong confessions to Oprah last week in a two-part OWN exclusive, his pal Matthew McConaughey is speaking out.

During his premiere of 'Mud' at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, the 43-year-old actor talked about his good friend and fellow Texas native, "My first reaction was I was pissed off.  I was mad.  Then I got kind of sad for him.  First off, I had a part of me that took it kind of personally, which I think a lot of people have."

Then he thought about it for a while and decided to cut Armstrong some slack, "What was he supposed to do?  Call me to the side and go, 'Hey man, I did it but don't tell anybody.'  Then I would have really had a reason to be pissed off at him, going, 'You want me to walk around holding this?'"

The actor is actually rooting for the disgraced athlete, "Where I am now is I've put myself out of the way and I am happy for this guy, who has now chosen to reenter this new chapter of his life.  He is now a truly free man without the weight he had on his shoulders, without the boogie man under the bed, the skeleton in the closet that he's carried for 14 years.  Fourteen years he lied and carried the lie with him."

He quoted Oprah, "She said 'the truth shall set you free,' but she forgot one part.  It's miserable in the beginning.  And it's going to be miserable.  But he's looking it in the eye, and he'll handle it.  He'll deal.  And he's ready for how hard it's going to be to deal."

Two months ago Armstrong posted a provocative image on his Twitter page featuring himself lounging on a sofa with his seven Tour de France yellow race shirts framed in the background.  He captioned it, "Back in Austin and just layin' around."  When Winfrey asked him what he was thinking, he grimaced and said, "I actually thought it was a good idea at the time."

lance with his tour shirts on display

Photo:  Twitter-Armstrong, Video Screen Grab - Nike + Human Race Austin 2008