"Ben and I owe everything to him": Matt Damon tells Katie Couric he was shocked by the death of Robin Williams

Damon opens up about his guilt, sadness and the importance of removing the stigma around mental illness

Published September 24, 2014 10:28PM (EDT)

Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Ben Affleck           (screenshot/Yahoo News)
Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Ben Affleck (screenshot/Yahoo News)

On Wednesday, Yahoo News published a poignant conversation between Matt Damon and Katie Couric. In it, the two discussed the passing of Robin Williams, Damon's "Good Will Hunting" costar -- and the man he credits for starting it all.

"Ben and I owe everything to him," Damon told Couric. "He said yes to our movie and he got it made. I could never thank him enough. You know, I look around at the life I have and how blessed I feel, and so much of it started with him."

Williams ended up winning his only Oscar, for supporting actor in "Good Will Hunting," and Damon explains that if it were not for Williams, the movie may have languished in production.

"I think everyone who wasn't there with him at the end feels bad that they didn't see it coming," Damon stated, admitting he'd fallen out of touch with Williams. "I hope I become better at checking in with my friends, and I hope that we as a country get better at checking in with each other, to prevent this kind of thing."

Damon shared the sense that Williams' suicide impacted everyone, and he hoped it would bring greater awareness about depression.

"It's a sign of incredible strength and fortitude, to be able to stand up and say, 'This is real, this is happening to me, and I need your help,'" he stated. Watch below:

By Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on innovation. Follow @sarahhhgray or email sgray@salon.com.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Depression Katie Couric Matt Damon Mental Health Robin Williams Video