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George Clooney Once Slammed Russell Crowe for "Picking a Fight" With Him

The two major movie stars feuded in the press in the mid-2000s.

George Clooney may be known as the affable gentleman of Hollywood A-listers, but there is one fellow star who has brought out the worst in him for more than 18 years. Since 2005, Russell Crowe and the Ocean's 11 actor have been throwing darts in the press, from Crowe questioning Clooney's integrity to Clooney to making fun of Crowe's musical pursuits. Read on to find out why these two celebrities don't get along and how their feud has played out in public for the past two decades.

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Crowe called Clooney a sellout.

Russell Crowe in 2005
Patrick Riviere/Getty Images

The feud between the two actors dates back to early 2005, when Crowe laid into Clooney—along with Harrison Ford and Robert De Niro—all for the crime of appearing in corporate ad campaigns. For his part, Clooney had appeared in a series of commercials for the menswear line Emidio Tucci in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

"I don't do ads for suits in Spain like George Clooney or cigarettes in Japan like Harrison," Crowe told GQ, according to The Chicago Tribune. The Cinderella Man star further complained, "It's kind of sacrilegious, a contradiction of the contract with your audience. De Niro advertising American Express—gee whiz."

Clooney made fun of Crowe's band.

George Clooney in 2005
Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage

Clooney soon caught wind of Crowe's lecture on artistic ethics and subsequently made a sarcastic jab at the Australian star's longtime rock band, 30 Odd Foot of Grunts, in Us Weekly. "I'm glad he set us straight," the star said, as reported by Today. "Because Harrison, Bob and I were putting a band together called Grunting for 30 Feet, and that would also fall under the heading of 'bad use of celebrity.' Thanks for the heads-up."

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Crowe sent Clooney some poems.

Russell Crowe in 2006
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Eight years later, Clooney was still talking about his beef with Crowe and revealing new details about what happened in a 2013 interview with Esquire. "And that's when [Crowe] really went off on me," the star said of the knock on Crowe's music career. "'Who the [expletive] does this guy think he is? He's a Frank Sinatra wannabe.' He really went after me. And so I sent him a note going, 'Dude, the only people who succeed when two famous people are fighting is People magazine. What the [expletive] is wrong with you?'"

Clooney went on to claim that he had not role in igniting the feud, saying, "He picked a fight with me. He started it for no reason at all."

Surprisingly, he also revealed that Crowe later extended an olive branch by having his own poetry and music delivered with an apology, although Clooney suspected it was just to smooth things over during awards season. "I had Syriana and Good Night, and Good Luck, and he was gonna see me at the Golden Globes 'cause he was nominated for Cinderella Man," he recalled. "So he sends me a disc of his music and a thing of his poetry. I think he said, 'I was all misquoted,' and I was like, 'Yeah, yeah. Whatever.'"

Clooney criticized a younger star.

George Clooney in 2006
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

In the same interview, Clooney went on to pontificate on artistic dos and don'ts himself—and to likewise diss a fellow A-lister. He shared that his fellow celebrities should stay off Twitter lest they make themselves "available to everybody" saying, "If you're famous, I don't—for the life of me—I don't understand why any famous person would ever be on Twitter." He also shared an unflattering story about wiping the floor with Leonardo DiCaprio's entourage during a game of basketball, recalling how one of the younger star's pals talked a big game before losing miserably. "We're all like fifty years old, and we beat them three straight: 11–0, 11–0, 11–0. And the discrepancy between their game and how they talked about their game made me think of how important it is to have someone in your life to tell you what's what," Clooney said. "I'm not sure if Leo has someone like that."

Regardless of Crowe's opinions on artistic integrity, Clooney has also continued to appear in both well-paid sponsorship deals and big movies. In 2008, the actor-director and big-time tequila investor appeared in an ad for the Honda Odyssey that aired in Japan and was seen riding a donkey through the streets of Spain for a Nespresso commercial in 2018.

Andrew Miller
Andrew Miller is a pop culture writer living in New York. Read more
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