George Clooney Just Confirmed This Wild Rumor About Himself
And it just goes to show why he's still one of the world's coolest movie stars.
George Clooney has a reputation of being one of the coolest guys in the business, and he just provided a little more proof that he's earned it. Speaking to GQ for its annual "Man of the Year" issue, the star addressed a story about something he reportedly did that's been circulating for a few years. And—for the first time—George Clooney himself confirmed the rumor: he did once gather 14 of his best friends and give them each a suitcase full of $1 million in cash. But it's not just the gesture itself that's pretty incredible—the how of the whole thing is also straight out of a movie. To find out why Clooney handed out these loaded pieces of luggage—and how he managed to get $14 million in bills in the first place—keep reading. And for more celeb gossip, check out A Restaurant Server Is Rating Celebrities Based on How Rude They Are.
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How the rumor got started
If you're a fan of the E.R. star, you know that one of Clooney's closest friends is businessman and Mr. Cindy Crawford, Rande Gerber. (The two even co-founded the ultra-successful tequila brand Casamigos, which they sold for a billion dollars a few years ago.) In 2017, Gerber spilled the beans about his business partner's extravagant gift during an MSNBC interview. "There's a group of guys that we call 'The Boys," Gerber said, according to the BBC. "George had called me and The Boys and said, 'Hey, mark September 27, 2013, on your calendar."
The whole group came to Clooney's for dinner and found suitcases at their place settings.
"He goes, 'I know we've all been through some hard times, some of you are still going through it,'" Gerber continued. "'You don't have to worry about your kids, you don't have to worry about, you know, school, you don't have to worry about paying your mortgage.'"
While Gerber certainly wasn't in dire straits (and tried to decline the $1 million gift), he explained that some of the recipients of Clooney's generosity were struggling financially—though they'd all offered the actor support at some point in his life. "I mean these are guys that took care of George and now he's giving it all back," Gerber said. In addition to the cash, Clooney reportedly paid all of their taxes for that year.
And for star friendships that didn't last, check out Former Celebrity Best Friends Who Barely Speak Anymore.
How Clooney came up with the idea
In lieu of a big upfront payday, Clooney had been offered a cut of the profits for his 2013 movie Gravity, which ended up being a bigger box office hit than anyone involved expected. And at this point in his life, he'd yet to start dating his now-wife, Amal Clooney, or to imagine that he'd ever have children (he now has three-year-old twins). So socking the extra money away wasn't on his mind.
"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," he told GQ. "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 **** am I waiting to get hit by a bus?"
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How the "heist" happened
A cool $14 million in cash isn't easy to rustle up—even if you're George Clooney. But the actor recalled finding a sketchy-ish backchannel for getting what he needed: a building in L.A. with an underground vault where one can go to acquire "giant pallets of cash."
The plot of this movie doesn't sound quite as glamorous as the Ocean's film series in which Clooney starred, however. The actor said that he drove to the warehouse in a florist van. Only security and his assistant were aware of what he was doing, but he managed to get the cash and fill 14 Tumi bags with each friend's share.
To see what's new with stars who made it big when they were young, check out The Biggest Child Actors Ever, Then and Now.
How he pulled off the big reveal
Gerber's account of that fateful dinner is very similar to Clooney's, as it turns out. The actor did credit his friends for much of his success before revealing why he called them all there.
“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," he said to GQ. "And I said, ‘How do you repay people like that?’ And I said, 'Oh, well: How about a million bucks?'"
Though it's taken him years to finally confirm it publicly, it seems like a fond memory for Clooney. He capped off the story with one more anecdote, explaining how he met another wealthy man in Vegas ("certainly a lot richer than I am"), who was incredulous as to why Clooney had just given that much money away. His response? "Why wouldn't you do that, you schmuck?"
For more stars who swore they wouldn't walk down the aisle, check out 15 Celebrities Who Say They're Never Getting Married.