The world has watched George Clooney’s love life with mixed interest for years. The Oscar winner has always had a beautiful woman on his arm but has long been considered a bachelor for life.
So news that Clooney, 52, is engaged to the stunning – and age appropriate – human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin, 36, after a whirlwind (read: less than a year) romance made the internet stop in its cyber tracks this week.
So how did Alamuddin tame the beast?
Alamuddin is as formidable on and off paper as Clooney himself. Not only does she have the winning combination of brains and breathtaking beauty, she’s extremely well connected.
Born into an intellectual and wealthy Beirut family, she studied at Oxford University and the New York University School of Law and is believed to have met Clooney while she was working for Kofi Annan, the United Nation’s special envoy to Syria.
The London-based barrister is an expert in international law, human rights and extradition – clearly an attribute close to her beau’s heart. Clooney has long been politically connected, both in his fight for human rights in Darfur and as a major supporter of the US Democratic party.
If reports are to be believed, she also fiercely tackled Clooney on her quest for love.
“Clooney asked her out for dinner and she put him off twice, saying she was too busy, before accepting the third time. Clooney was beguiled by her and she had the upper hand. He’s so used to being fawned over that it’s refreshing for him. And of course she is a brilliant human rights lawyer – but quite an operator too, you might say,” a source said.
It all sounds so, well, Bridget Jones and Mark Darcy-like really … just in reverse. Clooney and Alamuddin are just top people, really.
Clooney said he would never marry again after the dissolution of his four-year union with actor Talia Balsam in 1993, just before his career exploded thanks to ER.
The actor has never gone for Hollywood stars or starlets, falling into long-term relationships with ‘regular’ women – nevertheless very young and attractive ones – with the exception of most recent ex, wrestler Stacy Keibler, a C-list TV presenter.
So notorious was his aversion he reportedly entered into a $US100,000 wager with his One Fine Day co-star Michelle Pfeiffer in 1996 that he would remain legally single. Nicole Kidman entered the fray the following year when she filmed The Peacemaker with Clooney, betting him $US10,000 that he would have a baby by the time he was 40. He sent the cheque back to her after he won and reportedly told her double or nothing.
Clooney, who oozes the kind of style that made Cary Grant an icon, has been seen as the ultimate modern playboy, with a villa on Lake Como in Italy, ultra-famous friends like Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Bill Murray, doting leading ladies such as Kidman, Sandra Bullock and Julia Roberts, and a humanitarian and political streak that sees him, among several honourable causes, fighting for human rights in Darfur.
The actor has never gone for Hollywood stars or starlets, falling into long-term relationships with ‘regular’ women – very young and attractive ones – with the exception of most recent ex, wrestler Stacy Keibler, a C-list TV presenter.
His reputation for liking lovely young things even made it into Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s Gravity repertoire at this year’s Golden Globes. “It’s the story of how George Clooney would rather float away into space and die than spend one more minute with a woman his own age”.
Alamuddin doesn’t need Clooney’s money or fame.
News that the world’s most famous bachelor is off the market will no doubt be the punchline for numerous US late night TV talk show jokes in the weeks to come. But in the immediate aftermath, the impending nuptials has been heralded as his greatest career move, stemming what could have been a slide into Jack Nicholson-esque sleaze territory.
Great on paper
Amal Alamuddin is a brilliant and passionate defender of human rights – Geoffrey Robertson QC
Alamuddin has no intention of giving up her legal career, or even leaving London, after she marries the actor, London’s Telegraph reports. She doesn’t need Clooney’s
money or fame. She works for Doughty Street Chambers in London, which was founded by Australian-born QC Geoffrey Robertson, and she recently represented WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange when he was fighting extradition to Sweden over allegations of sexual assault.
Assange, who lost his legal battle and is now holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, on Monday praised Clooney’s fiancee.
“Amal is a friend and a lawyer with a global perspective who is not afraid to deal with corruption of power or to tackle politicised cases,” Assange told UK newspaper The Evening Standard.
Robertson, who is joint head of Doughty Street Chambers, also gave the barrister a big thumbs up.
“Amal Alamuddin is a brilliant and passionate defender of human rights who has put in the enormously hard work necessary to improving them,” he said in the firm’s statement.
Clearly it took more than a good pair of pins and sunny disposition to get Clooney over the line. One can imagine that no one was as shocked as he was when he found himself proposing to his wife to be.