George Clooney Reveals Intimate Details of His Proposal to Wife Amal
In The Hollywood Reporter's cover story, the director of upcoming film 'Suburbicon' — and now father of twins — opens up about the way he asked the human rights lawyer for her hand in marriage, how he realized she was the one, and why they finally gave in to paparazzi during their wedding weekend in Venice.
How did George Clooney know Amal was The One?
In The Hollywood Reporter's cover story, the actor-director opens up about when he met his now-wife and how he asked for her hand in marriage.
Clooney met the then-Amal Alamuddin in Lake Como, Italy, where he owned (and still owns) a home, when she was passing through in July 2013, on her way to Cannes with a mutual friend.
"I thought she was beautiful, and I thought she was funny and obviously smart," he said, adding that they started out as friends — emailing and talking on a regular basis — but after a while, they realized there was a romantic connection.
In October 2013, Clooney invited Amal to visit him at London's historic Abbey Road Studios, where he was supervising the recording of the score for his 2014 release Monuments Men. After, they went out for dinner. "That was a good first date," he said, adding: "And pretty quickly, things escalated once I was in London."
They spent Christmas together in Cabo San Lucas and then went on a safari in Kenya. When he returned to L.A., he showed a photo of her to a friend of his. "I had a picture of her, looking back, smiling at these giraffes," he recalled, "and I said, 'I think I'm going to ask her to marry me.' "
That was February 2014, and Clooney started planning every detail of proposal, even down the background music. She had no idea.
"It was a full-on leap of faith," Clooney said. "She was in England, coming back [to Los Angeles], and she'd had a conversation with her parents, who were like, 'What are George's intentions?' And she was saying, 'Take it easy. We've been going out for six months.' And then she showed up."
For their proposal on April 28, 2014, Clooney made pasta for dinner. "And then over champagne, after dinner, I told her there was a lighter to light the candle in the drawer, and she reached back and pulled out a ring," he said. "And I did all the stuff, got down on my knee and did all the things you're supposed to do. I had a playlist with my Rosemary songs on it [his late aunt was the singer Rosemary Clooney], and I was waiting for this song, 'Why Shouldn't I?' 'Why shouldn't I take a chance when romance passes by? / Why shouldn't I know of love?' It's a really good song about why can't I be in love? And it played, and she's like, 'Holy shit!' And she just kept staring at the ring, going, 'Oh, my God.' It was 20 minutes of me on my knee, waiting for her to say yes, because she was so shocked. She only said yes when 'Goody, Goody' came on, which isn't very romantic — it's kind of mean: 'So you met someone who set you back on your heels, goody, goody.' "
Clooney said he did worry a little about whether she might think it was too soon, but he had no doubt that they were meant for each other. They got married in September of that year in Venice.
"We didn't tell anybody else that we were going to do it," recalls Clooney, "but eventually somebody figured it out. Oh, my God! Once people got wind of it, it became an event."
Initially, they were trying to hide from the paparazzi and onlookers but changed their mind.
"We were sitting down in the boat, and I was like, 'You know what? Why are we hiding? Why are we ducking? We shouldn't be ashamed of this.' And we got up and waved," he said.
While Amal has had to adjust to the paparazzi, Clooney says the two are extremely happy. They recent traveled back to the Floating City for the premiere of his new film, Suburbicon, on Saturday at the Venice Film Festival. The Paramount release is a drama set in the late 1950s that he directed and co-wrote with Grant Heslov starring Matt Damon and Julianne Moore.
"Every single day of my life, I just feel lucky," Clooney told THR of his life now. "Lucky in my career. Lucky enough to have found the perfect partner. Sometimes in life it doesn't happen on your schedule, but you find the person that you were always supposed to be with. That's how I feel, and I know that's how Amal feels."
Read more about Clooney in THR's cover story.