Actor Matt Damon

Celebrity Q&A, People
on November 10, 2011

Now that Matt Damon has starred in Contagion, how does he feel about germs?

—Bonnie Smith, Goshen, Ind.

"A movie like that makes you more aware of that stuff," admits Damon, 41, whose character, Thomas Emhoff, loses his wife, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, in the first wave of a deadly disease that becomes a pandemic. Damon, who has four daughters with his wife, Argentina-born Luciana Bozan Barroso, is more of a nervous parent than a germaphobe.

"I think with kids I am more protective than I have ever been," he says. "My wife’s nickname for me is Red Alert. I sometimes check just to see if the kids are breathing. I am trying not to be a helicopter parent."