The Truth About George Clooney's Marriage

After the fall of Brangelina and Kimye, George and Amal Clooney remain one of the most high-profile couples in the world — and yet, their private lives often stay just that. But every now and again, the couple gives us glimpses into their fairytale romance that keep us coming back for more. From the moment they met, the Clooneys seemed utterly made for each other, and a marriage, two children, and enough real estate to start their own agency later, this is now truer than ever.

All it takes is one look at how the Clooneys interact with each other to see that their relationship is one we can all aspire to — honestly, get you a man who gazes at you like George gazes at his wife, and a woman who gushes over you like Amal gushes over her husband. So, how did they get here, exactly? Let us walk you through the actor and the human rights lawyer's first meeting, all the way up to how they have fared through the COVID-19 pandemic. Caution: envious sighs guaranteed.

George and Amal Clooney met in Lake Como

David Letterman was thrown off by the story of how George Clooney and Amal Clooney (née Alamuddin) met, and we were a little bit, too. As the actor recalled on a 2015 episode of "The Late Show with David Letterman," he was at his Lake Como residence in 2013 when a friend of his asked if he could stop by with someone — who of course turned out to be Amal. As Letterman said years later on an episode of "My Next Guest Needs No Introduction," George "didn't even have to leave the house" to meet his future spouse. 

"I got a call from my agent, who called me and said, 'I met this woman who's coming to your house, who you're gonna marry,'" George told Letterman on the talk-show host's Netflix program. We have no idea what the agent knew that the actor didn't, but we would hire their crystal ball-reading services in a heartbeat.

At first, George didn't know if Amal was into him, but from the sounds of it, she most definitely was. "I met George when I was 35 and starting to become quite resigned to the idea that I was going to be a spinster," Amal said in her speech congratulating her husband on his American Film Institute Life Achievement Award Tribute in 2018. "Then we met, started hiding out in my London flat, and very soon it felt like no matter what happened, I would never want to be with anyone else." Swoon.

Amal Clooney was thrown off by the proposal

Amal Clooney assumed she'd stay single forever, while George Clooney assumed he wouldn't ever get married. Clearly, neither of those things remained true. "It was, I think, about six months till I actually thought I might pop the question," the Oscar winner told Ellen DeGeneres in 2016. He had planned out the most perfect proposal, with the ring hidden, dinner ready and music playing in the background, but Amal's reaction wasn't quite what he had expected.

As he explained to DeGeneres, George told Amal all the sweet things you could hope to hear, like, "I couldn't imagine spending the rest of my life without you," but Amal took ages to respond. You can't fault her though, because it seems she hadn't had much of an opportunity to think about it beforehand. "We never talked about marriage when we were dating," George shared with CBS News. "And I asked her outta the blue. Took her a long time to say yes. I was on my knee for like 20 minutes. I finally said, 'Look, I'm gonna throw my hip out.' We told that story to her parents, and they're like, 'There's something wrong with his hip?'" Spoiler alert: There was nothing wrong with his hip, and the future Mrs. Clooney did eventually accept the proposal. Phew, that was a close one.

George and Amal Clooney tied the knot in Venice

When you meet against the picturesque backdrop of Lake Como, where do you go from there? You get married in the city best known for its rich history of romance, of course. In 2014, George and Amal Clooney jetted off back to Italy — this time to Venice for their nuptials. There were 105 guests present, as Clooney told Ellen DeGeneres, for the intimate affair on September 27 of that year. As Vulture noted in a roundup of the big names in attendance, the star-studded guest list included Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Anna Wintour, John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, and Bono. The ceremony took place at the Aman Canal Grande hotel, which the groom arrived at by boat, according to Harper's Bazaar UK.

For her big day, the bride wore an off-the-shoulder, lace-embellished gown designed by Oscar de la Renta himself. "George and I wanted a wedding that was romantic and elegant, and I can't imagine anyone more able than Oscar to capture this mood in a dress," Amal told Vogue during a fitting in New York City. "Meeting him made the design process all the more magical, as he is so warm and such a gentleman." De la Renta chimed in, saying, "It's the most important dress in the life of a woman. Any girl from any walk of life dreams of that special dress, and I try to make that dream a reality for her." In this case, the girl was Amal, and there is no doubt the designer made her wedding dress dreams come true.

Kids weren't originally part of George Clooney's plan

Life certainly took the Clooneys by surprise. Neither of them thought they would meet someone they wanted to marry, let alone someone whose children they wanted — but that's what they found in each other. "I was like, 'I'm never getting married. I'm not gonna have kids,'" George Clooney told GQ of his previous stance. "I'd never been in the position where someone else's life was infinitely more important to me than my own. You know? And then tack on two more individuals, who are small and have to be fed."

Those two individuals are better known as George and Amal Clooney's twin children, Alexander and Ella, who were born in 2017 and whose parents' world now pretty much revolves around them. Talking to "Today" about being a father, the actor said, "[It's given me] a sense of belonging and a sense of home and unconditional love — all the things that you were hoping you could get from a really good career and a dog. You realize that this is a lot more than that."

Amal and George Clooney work tirelessly for human rights

Amal Clooney is a human rights lawyer who has been described as a "key operator in the field of international human rights" and "extremely intelligent, really bright, and an exceptional lawyer," according to the Doughty Street Chambers website. She has also served several high offices in the UN. "If you are a lawyer and you want to take on easier cases you can prosecute traffic violations or something," Amal said on Today in 2016. "You'd have a very high rate of success and you probably could sleep more easily at night. But that's not what drives me. I want to work on cases that I feel the most passionate about."

Beyond her (extremely impressive) day job, Amal is endlessly committed to a wide range of worthy causes — as is George Clooney. "Even before I knew him, I admired George's commitment to taking up causes like exposing corruption in Sudan before they were visible, and to taking moral stances like opposing the war in Iraq when it was far from popular to do so," the lawyer said at the 46th AFI Life Achievement Award Tribute. The couple has famously supported a wide range of charities over the years; George alone has worked with 37 different organizations, according to Look to the Stars. When a devastating explosion rocked Beirut in 2020, the pair donated $100,000 to charities on the ground, according to Variety. Amal was born in the capital of Lebanon, so it's not surprising that this terrible event was so close to the couple's hearts.

The Clooneys' combined net worth is nothing to sneeze at

As you might expect from such a successful couple, George and Amal Clooney have done pretty well for themselves. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Amal is worth $50 million, while George weighs in at a hefty $500 million. Together, they have a combined net worth of $570 thanks to their many, many ventures across a range of industries.

George is well and truly a Hollywood fixture. Not content simply with his acting career — which skyrocketed with "ER" in the '80s before landing on the "Ocean's" franchise — George is also a screenwriter, as well as a producer and director for both film and TV. He has won two Oscars, four Golden Globes and one Emmy, among other awards, thereby further increasing his market value. He was even the highest-paid actor in the world in 2018, according to Forbes. As for Amal, her work across law and policy has been duly rewarded, per Celebrity Net Worth.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are their pals

George and Amal Clooney attended Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's royal wedding in 2018, with Amal wowing the millions of onlookers in her bright yellow Stella McCartney dress. Shortly after the big day, a source told People that Meghan and Amal met through "a mutual friend" and "have known each other for a while [and share] many interests." And evidently, one of those interests happens to be hanging out at the Clooneys' Lake Como property. "Amal and Meghan spent much of their days lounging by the pool together and, of course, playing with the twins," royal correspondent (and "Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family" cowriter) Omid Scobie divulged on "Good Morning America" later that year. He went on to note that their husbands "checked out George's [motorcycle] collection and they also played basketball together." 

When the royal couple still resided in the UK and the Clooneys were staying in their Berkshire home, they were practically neighbors. "We live not too far from one another and we have dinners and stuff and we're friends with them for all the reasons that you're friends with anybody," George told the Daily Mail in 2019. "They're just really nice, fun, kind people, they're a very loving couple, and they're going to be great parents." Now that both couples have a Southern California base — the Sussexes in Santa Barbara and the Clooneys in Los Angeles — it's likely that they'll continue to see lots of one another.

George Clooney teaches his kids to prank their mom

George Clooney isn't always busy whispering sweet nothings to his wife. Sometimes he likes to give Amal Clooney the fright of her life instead, by training their kids to pull pranks on her. "I just want to hear the shriek from my wife, and I know I've succeeded," he said on "The Graham Norton Show" in December 2020. "I taught them to put Nutella in their nappy and then go upstairs and take it off, and then pick it up and eat it." Very cruel, George, very cruel.

The mischief-loving actor really likes his poop jokes, and he's pulled an equally gross version of this prank with their son. "I'll put peanut butter on the side of his shoe and he'll go to his mother and say, 'Mamma? Pooh-pooh?'" George told the Daily Mail. "And then he reaches down like this, and he puts his finger in it and licks it, and he goes 'Pooh-pooh?' again. And when I get him to do that, that's when I really get her! Pooh-pooh works every time. It's the universal language!" 

Long before George was a prankster dad, he was a prankster kid. "I thought things were funny, got in trouble in school a lot," he shared with Graham Norton. Clearly, he's passed the torch.

Language is a sticking point in the Clooney household

George Clooney has two great regrets when it comes to his children: The first is teaching them Italian, and the second letting them pick up their mom's Britishisms. "I'm desperately trying to not make them little Brits," George said on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert." He continued, "It's not a jumper, it's a sweater. It's not the boot, it's the trunk. It's not the pavement, it's the sidewalk." It's not all about their vocabulary, either — they've even got their holiday traditions all twisted. George told Colbert that his son insisted they leave "milk and mince pie" for Santa instead of the more American tradition of "milk and cookies." Ah, good wee lad, Alexander.

As for the kids' bilingualism, George and Amal Clooney thought it would be a great idea for Ella and Alexander to know another language, but have soon realized the error of their ways. "We did a really dumb thing, which is they speak fluent Italian — I mean fluent Italian — at three," George told Jimmy Kimmel in December 2020. "But I don't speak Italian, my wife doesn't speak Italian, so we've really... armed them with a language. I'll say, you know, 'Alright, go back in and clean your room before you can...' and they're like, 'eh, Papa, stanzo, eh, eh!'" Educating your kids is a rookie mistake, TBH.

George and Amal Clooney surprise each other with notes

Since the start of their relationship, George and Amal Clooney have exchanged love letters — and they haven't let coronavirus stop them from carrying on this sweet tradition. "Even in lockdown, I'll write a letter and slip it on her desk, or she'll write a letter and leave it under the pillow," George told AARP. "I'm a big believer in letters." Now we really need to know what these letters say, but we can at least imagine how adorable they must be.

Letters seem to have played a huge role in making George and Amal fall for each other in the first place. "I couldn't sleep when we were apart and I am told that I would display a particular grin and head tilt when reading his text messages or the letters that he would hide in my bag," Amal said in her speech at the American Film Institute in 2018. "Five years later, none of that has changed, he is the person who has my complete admiration and also the person whose smile makes me melt every time." We know "couple goals" has been said a million times, but...

The Clooneys love renovating their many homes

George and Amal Clooney have a real estate portfolio to make you green with envy. There is of course the Lake Como villa where the two first met, a stunning (and massive) house right on the water, which George bought for himself in 2002, according to Closer Weekly. Villa Oleandra features 25 rooms, which seems like a few too many for just one person, so it's great that the actor can now fill the space with his wife and kids as well.

No Hollywood couple is complete without a Los Angeles pad, and the Clooneys' Studio City home certainly doesn't disappoint. Even though it was already more than impressive, in February 2020 the couple decided to drop a cool £1 million (about $1.4 million) on extensive renovations, according to the Daily Mail. They started building a separate house for their kids to play in and extra houses for staff, as well as some swanky features like an actual funicular railway. George has owned the property since 1995, so it makes sense that he and Amal would want to make it a little more suited for their needs as a couple and a family.

George and Amal also own a home in Berkshire, England, which features nine bedrooms but has continuous room for improvement, apparently. According to Hello!, the couple was adding an extra building to the property in 2020 for a pretty penny, to complement the pool house and cinema already on the premises.

How the Clooneys handled the pandemic

The pandemic has taken some adjusting for all of us — yes, even famous people — and George Clooney passed the sudden surplus of time by getting down and dirty with the household chores. "It's been a while since I did, you know, 15 loads of laundry in a day and mopped floors and, you know, all these doors over here I stained!" the actor said during an interview with CBS in his Los Angeles home. "You know, I always say I felt like my mother in 1964, 'cause she had two kids and no help. And I don't know how she did it now. I have more sympathy for her now than ever."

As for Amal Clooney, she got her revenge for her husband's many pranks by reimagining herself as a professional "ER" critic. During a reunion with the cast in 2021, George admitted that Amal had been watching the show during the pandemic. Having never seen it before, she wasn't exactly convinced. "This has been a very, very disastrous thing for me because I forgot all of the terrible things I'd done as Dr. Ross," George said to his castmates. "My wife keeps going, 'Is that it? Are you done? Season 3 — do you finally settle down with Nurse Hathaway?' ... It's been a disaster for my marriage." Hoo, boy.

George and Amal Clooney's love is a story for the ages

Despite their taunts, George and Amal Clooney are seriously over the moon for one another. "My love, what I have found with you is the great love that I've always hoped existed, and seeing you with our children, Ella and Alexander, is the greatest joy in my life," Amal said in her famous speech at the American Film Institute. "You fill our home with laughter and happiness, and that's even before the children have worked out that 'Dada' is actually Batman, a talking fox, and friends with Mary Poppins."

But never mind all the glitz and the glamour, what's really striking about George and Amal's marriage is that it seems so balanced and — dare we say it? — normal. "We've been a team really since we met," George told Today in 2021. "The most we've ever been apart is three or four days, never had a fight, which people always get ticked off when I say. You know, we've been married seven years. We have a really wonderful life together. We're both busy, but we're both very involved in each other's lives, which is nice." Really, what more could you ask for?