Matt Damon & Jimmy Kimmel feud explained: Do they really hate each other?

Jakob Barnes
Jimmy Kimmel at the Oscars and Matt Damon in Oppenheimer

For almost 20 years now, Hollywood superstar Matt Damon and TV host Jimmy Kimmel have been locked in a bitter feud, but how and when did it all start, and do they really hate one another?

Since his big break in the 1990s, there have been few bigger names in the movie industry than Matt Damon. He’s starred in some of the best, most entertaining films of all time, and he seems like a pretty nice guy, too.

One man who would disagree is Jimmy Kimmel, and the feeling is mutual. The pair have had a number of very public arguments, but what’s the cause, and is it genuine?

Here, we get to the bottom of this intense rivalry to discern why it all started and what’s happened along the way.

Do Matt Damon and Jimmy Kimmel really hate each other?

No, Matt Damon and Jimmy Kimmel do not really hate each other. Quite the opposite, in fact: they are now really good friends and do this whole feud thing as a bit.

Matt Damon and Jimmy Kimmel on the Jimmy Kimmel show

The pair didn’t actually know each other all that well before all this started in 2005, but over time and with the ongoing joke bringing them closer together, they are now close acquaintances away from the cameras.

How did the feud between Matt Damon and Jimmy Kimmel start?

The feud began in 2005 when Jimmy Kimmel pretended to cut Matt Damon from his chat show live on air. The host announced he didn’t have time to chat to Damon, but the actor was never actually lined up to appear that night.

Explaining the situation, Kimmel said: “We had a bad show… the guests were bad, and I was feeling pretty bad about myself at the end of the show. I decided to say, for the amusement of one of our producers who was standing next to me… Matt Damon was just the first name that popped into my head. I was trying to think of an A-list star, and somebody we absolutely would not bump if he was on the show.”

Matt Damon shouts at Jimmy Kimmel

A year later, Damon actually was invited on the Jimmy Kimmel show, and the gag developed. Kimmel introduced his guest, but immediately cut him off and ended the show. As he did, Damon stormed off stage swearing, and fans of the show believed it was a genuine reaction.

Timeline of the Matt Damon and Jimmy Kimmel feud

Since that chaotic appearance in 2006, there has been another 13 incidents involving Matt Damon and Jimmy Kimmel, all of them staged and all of them hilarious.

One of the funniest came in 2007, when Damon was invited back on the Jimmy Kimmel show. Instead of showing up, he sent Kimmel’s then-girlfriend, Sarah Silverman in his place and a music video was played where Silverman and Damon implied pretty heavily that they were involved in an affair. You can catch that Emmy award winning video below.

Damon and Kimmel then took a six-year break from the rivalry, but in 2013 Damon shocked audiences by hosting the Jimmy Kimmel show. The usual host was tied up in the background, with his mouth covered by duct tape.

In 2015, the two stars appeared in a comedy sketch where they attended couples’ counseling in an attempt to mend their relationship. It didn’t work, as you may have guessed.

Damon’s lifelong friend, Ben Affleck got involved in the fun in 2016. As a guest on the Jimmy Kimmel show, Affleck raised eyebrows when he appeared wearing a pretty large coat. His host asked him to remove the jacket, and Damon was hiding underneath.

The actor sneaked onto the show just a year later, under the guise of NFL player Tom Brady. When he removed his helmet, it was revealed Damon had taken Brady’s place. This gag came full circle in 2019 when Kimmel hired Brady to throw a pigskin through a window at Matt Damon’s home.

The Oscars have played a big part in the ongoing ‘feud’ of late, as Kimmel regularly hosts the awards show. In an interview for Good Morning America in 2017, Kimmel revealed he hoped Damon would not receive any recognition for his work on Manchester by the Sea, a film he produced.

Kimmel did similar in 2023, explaining how happy he was that Damon wasn’t going to appear at the ceremony, and he even blamed Damon for the La La Land-Moonlight mix-up in 2017. And this year, Kimmel described Damon as a “hideous disgusting ugly man” when he saw his character from Oppenheimer pop up on a video.

In 2023, the pair exchanged verbal blows regularly during the press run for Damon’s movie, Air. When asked if he would ever make amends with Kimmel, Damon said: “No, no. He’s an asshole. Why would I ever do that? He’s a terrible human being. He’s a demonstrably bad man.”

Later, when interviewing Ben Affleck about the movie, Kimmel allowed Damon to make a FaceTime call during the show, but the host faked technical difficulties and paused the screen on unflattering images of Damon.

With the Academy Awards coming up again soon, and Oppenheimer one of the Oscar-nominated movies this year, we are sure there will be more hilarity to ensue between Kimmel and Damon.