George Clooney has detailed how he once gifted 14 of his closest friends $1million (£775,000) in cash each.
The story first emerged via Clooney’s friend Rande Gerber in 2017, though the actor himself had never confirmed nor denied it.
Now, in a new interview with GQ, Clooney detailed the story, confirming that he did, indeed, stump up the huge gesture.
“Amal [Clooney, wife] and I had just met, but we weren’t dating at all,” Clooney began. “I was a single guy. All of us were ageing. I was 52 or something. And most of my friends are older than me.”
Revealing that the story in question occurred in 2013, around the release of his film Gravity, Clooney added: “Because [the film’s producers] didn’t want to pay us, they gave us percentages of the movie, ’cause they thought it was gonna be a flop, and that ended up being a very good deal.
“And I thought, what I do have are these guys who’ve all, over a period of 35 years, helped me in one way or another. I’ve slept on their couches when I was broke. They loaned me money when I was broke. They helped me when I needed help over the years. And I’ve helped them over the years. We’re all good friends.
“And I thought, you know, without them I don’t have any of this. And we’re all really close, and I just thought basically if I get hit by a bus, they’re all in the will. So why the fuck am I waiting to get hit by a bus?”
Clooney then detailed how he managed to get $14million in cash, from a location in Los Angeles that had, he explains, “giant pallets of cash”.
“We brought it up, and I bought 14 Tumi bags, and then I packed in a million bucks, cash, which isn’t as much as you think it is, weight-wise, into these Tumi bags.”
Clooney then invited his select friends over the next day: “And I just held up a map and I just pointed to all the places I got to go in the world and all the things I’ve gotten to see because of them. And I said, ‘How do you repay people like that?’
“And I said, ‘Oh, well: How about a million bucks?’ And the fun part about it was: That was the 27th, the 28th of September. A year later, on the 27th of September, just by happenstance, was the day I got married.”
Speaking of the decision in hindsight, Clooney reflected: “I remember talking to one really rich asshole who I ran into in a hotel in Vegas—certainly a lot richer than I am. And I remember the story about the cash had come out, and he was like, ‘Why would you do that?’ And I was like, ‘Why wouldn’t you do that, you schmuck?'”
Back in June, George Clooney labelled racism as “America’s pandemic”. Writing for The Daily Beast, Clooney said: “The anger and the frustration we see playing out once again in our streets is just a reminder of how little we’ve grown as a country from our original sin of slavery.”
“We need policymakers and politicians that reflect basic fairness to all of their citizens equally. Not leaders that stoke hatred and violence as if the idea of shooting looters could ever be anything less than a racial dog whistle.”