Like most married couples, George and Amal Clooney have seemingly had their ups and downs. The highs no doubt include the birth of their twins in 2017; the lows, on the other hand… Well, trying to maintain a relationship may be hard when you’re wed to a world-famous actor or a high-powered humanitarian lawyer – especially when they’re jetting off around the world. So, it’s perhaps no surprise that there has been plenty of gossip about the state of the Clooneys’ union. And the speculation only came to a head when an insider dropped a bombshell about the couple.
But Amal and George’s love certainly seems worth saving. And their story could have come right out of Hollywood itself: the handsome star in his 50s, seemingly never to find anyone whom he wants to marry, meets a hotshot legal eagle, and they become man and wife. Then kids follow, and for a while it looks as though fairytales really can come true.
All is not quite sweetness and light in the Clooneys’ marriage, though, if an insider who reportedly spoke to the National Enquirer in 2019 is to be believed. Alluding to trouble in paradise, the source said, “[George and Amal] have this terrible habit of getting on each other’s nerves at the worst possible time, and it always seems to happen right after they’ve worked their way out of a troubled patch.”
Yet George has always insisted that he’s happily married. In 2015, for instance, he opened up about his relationship to Harper’s Bazaar, saying, “I’m a much happier person [with Amal], and we have a very happy life… I have someone who I can talk to about anything and someone who I care more about than I’ve cared about anybody.”
George also sounded pretty content when he talked to The Australian Women’s Weekly in 2018. At that time, he said of his wife, “[Amal]’s an amazing person. [S]he’s caring and one of the smartest people I’ve met.” And Amal has returned the praise. Prior to her husband being presented with the 2018 AFI Life Achievement Award, she announced on stage, “Although [George] modestly attributes most of his success to luck, I think it is his incredible talent and character that got him here, and these attributes make him an amazing husband and father.”
Speaking of George, it turns out that he may not have initially aspired to a life in movies. As a child, you see, he was a talented baseball player, and this ultimately led him to a trial for the Cincinnati Reds – albeit an unsuccessful one. Then, at college, the star majored in journalism, although he didn’t actually graduate from either school that he attended. Instead, the future A-lister ended up making a living through construction work and selling shoes, among other jobs.
But after a few small roles, George won decent parts on TV. Then, after building his profile up, he landed a starring role in hospital drama ER. And the actor’s turn as Dr. Doug Ross not only made him a household name, but it also saw him in line for Emmys and Golden Globes.
After his stint in ER ended, however, George began nabbing serious movie roles. His success as a lead arguably reached a peak in the reboot of Ocean’s Eleven – which ultimately raked in close to half a billion dollars in box-office receipts. And yet more critical acclaim came his way, too, culminating in an Oscar in 2006 for Syriana.
Then, in 2018, Forbes magazine claimed that George was Hollywood’s most richly rewarded thespian, having pulled in nearly $250 million in a year. The star had also branched out into the liquor business in 2013 as a co-founder of Casamigos Tequila – a brand that sold four years later for at least $700 million. And along with that considerable fortune, George can also boast of having been named as one of the most influential people on the planet – an accolade handed to him by Time in 2009.
Amal, by contrast, entered the world in February 1978 in Beirut, Lebanon. She then grew up in southern England and studied at elite universities in the U.K. and the U.S. – eventually being called to the bar in both countries. The polyglot also later found a place at top law firm Doughty Street Chambers.
And Amal has made a name for herself defending some infamous individuals. She has previously taken a case for Wikileaks’ Julian Assange, for example, and advised the King of Bahrain – whose commitment to human rights has been under some scrutiny. But the lawyer hasn’t always spent her time dealing with the notorious; she’s also worked as one of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s advisers and on a panel that looked into rape as a war crime.
Elsewhere, in 2014, Amal appeared before the International Criminal Court representing Abdullah al Senussi, one of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s right-hand men. In 2019 she also accepted a role with the U.K. government, for which she was tasked with investigating the freedom of the press around the world.
But while George and Amal obviously come from very different worlds, the two nevertheless found romance together. And on My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman in 2018, the actor revealed the details of the pair’s initial encounter. A friend had apparently brought Amal to George’s home near Lake Como, Italy, with that pal telling the film star, “I met this woman who is coming to your house who you’re going to marry.”
And when the actor met the lawyer, his heart was quickly captured. At first, the couple became penpals, as George shared with The Hollywood Reporter in 2017. He said, “[Amal] sent some pictures from when she was here, and we were writing each other, emailing, talking – mostly about what was going on in each other’s lives.”
Then, one thing led to another, and in October 2013 the two had a date at London’s Abbey Road Studios. At the time, George was fixing up the score for his movie The Monuments Men, meaning he was able to give Amal a tour of the famous recording space. He later added to The Hollywood Reporter, “That was a good first date. And pretty quickly, things escalated once I was in London.”
The blossoming romance did not go unnoticed by Amal’s family, though, and apparently the lawyer received a grilling about her new beau. George explained, “She’d had a conversation with her parents, who were like, ‘What are George’s intentions?’” But while Amal ultimately told her folks not to worry about the relationship, she and her film star boyfriend would soon get a lot more serious.
In April 2014, you see, Amal came for dinner at George’s home – not suspecting that the actor had more than food on his mind. George had secreted a seven-carat engagement ring in a box that Amal would eventually need to open. And when the time came, George took a knee and popped the question.
The star later reminisced about the moment to The Hollywood Reporter, saying, “I was waiting for this song, ‘Why Shouldn’t I?’ It’s a really good song about, ‘Why can’t I be in love?’ And it played, and she’s like, ‘Holy s**t!’ 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.”
So in September – not even a year after the Abbey Lane date – the pair were ready for marriage. And although the couple kept the big day to themselves at first, word inevitably got out. George subsequently explained to The Hollywood Reporter, “Oh my God! Once people got wind of [the wedding], it became an event.”
Even so, the event was a relatively low-key affair at the Aman Canal Grande resort in Venice, Italy. Family and friends were all naturally in attendance, with the wellwishers including Emily Blunt and John Krasinski, modeling legend Cindy Crawford and Matt Damon, George’s co-star from the Ocean’s series.
Yet while having children seemed an almost inevitable next step, George originally had no plans in that direction. He told The Hollywood Reporter, “It had never been part of my DNA. We didn’t plan on it. We never talked about it until after we were married, which is funny. There was an assumption that we didn’t want them.”
After George had tied the knot, though, he revisited the idea of fatherhood. And after Amal fell pregnant, an ultrasound procedure brought some surprising news: they had not one but two children on the way. So, in June 2017, the Clooneys welcomed twin babies Alexander and Ella.
And George would praise Amal’s mothering skills when he appeared on My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman. He said, “[Amal] is sort of this remarkable human being and now mother – which is something, I suppose, you should assume she would be wonderful at as well. But, when you see it in person, it makes you feel incredibly proud and also incredibly small.”
So, although the pair still had busy lives, they naturally made time for the twins – even jetting around the world with the newborns. And while it may not have been easy to fit the babies into schedules that included the Casamigos sale, filmmaking and continuing work at the bar, the Clooneys made it look effortless.
But it’s been said that not everything was smooth sailing behind the scenes. According to media accounts, the couple fought over their different ways of life, with Amal, it’s claimed, finding George’s love of parties too much. The actor, on the other hand, apparently felt smothered by family life. And, allegedly, the two were continents apart at one time; while Amal lived in New York, George reportedly mostly stayed in Europe.
George also emphasized the stress that had been placed on his family in a 2019 interview with The Hollywood Reporter. On that occasion, he said, “We have plenty of issues ‒ real, proper security issues ‒ that we have to deal with on a fairly daily basis. We don’t really want our kids to be targets, so we have to pay attention to that.”
And in January 2019 alleged insiders told Radar Online that things had come to a head. Amal had, they claimed, escaped to a place that the couple had bought in Italy. Meanwhile, George was reportedly “beside himself” and had been sending his wife a stream of SMS messages that begged her to return home.
But the picture the supposed sources painted appeared somewhat at odds with the star’s words to Entertainment Tonight a few months later. When asked how he compared to his rageful character in TV hit Catch-22, George said, “I’m not mad at anything. I got a brilliant, beautiful wife, I got two knuckleheads for kids, [and] life’s great.”
And in June 2019 George revealed to U.K. newspaper the Daily Mail that he was still hugely in love with his spouse. The actor jokingly added, “And they said it wouldn’t last! I can’t imagine being more in love with [Amal] than I am, and I can’t imagine somebody I’m more proud of.”
Nonetheless, rumors still bubbled to the surface – not helped, perhaps, by the claims that the couple were increasingly living in different places. Of course, George is still a top actor and director, so he’s often on set. And Amal, it’s said, doesn’t go with him – although she does travel for her work as well.
Yet it seems that the pair have found a way to maintain their marriage despite their differences. In December 2019 a source reportedly told Australian women’s magazine New Idea that George and Amal had come to an understanding that would help them both stay together and flourish.
According to the publication, the anonymous individual revealed, “Divorce isn’t an option to either [George or Amal], so they had to find a way to make this work. Earlier this year, they sat down and figured out a list of rules that would make them both feel more comfortable and less pressured to live a life that didn’t suit them.”
The source then explained the purported basis for the celebrity pair’s understanding, continuing, “[George and Amal] have come to appreciate that they’re two very different people. But instead of fighting or trying to impose their will on each other, they’ve found a way to back off in some areas and compromise in others.”
Earlier in 2019, another person allegedly close to Amal and George had characterized the differences between the pair. They claimed that while Amal was focused on work, George was more enamored with partying, adding to Radar Online, “She’s all business; he’s all play.”
But that may change a bit if the two have indeed agreed on a new approach to life. The New Idea source elaborated on the supposed changes, saying, “George promised he’d rein in his partying – especially when [he and Amal] are in the same city – and Amal has given assurances to stop micro-managing and let [George] let his hair down every now and then.”
But that wasn’t all. Apparently, Amal had grown tired of the red carpet events that are a big part of the couple’s lives. The insider went on, “They’ll still show up together to the occasional premiere. But George has agreed to slow down on the glitzy events – which Amal was starting to find fairly tedious.”
And the actor has also apparently decided to focus much more on his wife’s work as a human rights lawyer. The source explained, “[George] is taking a much bigger interest, which means reading up on politics and law so [that he and Amal] have more to discuss when they are together.”
The apparent insider claimed, then, that the aforementioned compromises would allow a way forward for the couple. They said, “[George and Amal] still have had their ups and downs and aren’t perfect by any means, but [they] are at peace with each other and have figured out an arrangement that works for both of them.”
Still, while Amal and George may want to become closer, they won’t necessarily be physically together much more than they were before the agreement. The source noted, “[This] means spending much less time together and learning to live weeks and months apart at a time, depending on their work schedules.”
So, hopefully, George and Amal’s marriage will thrive on its new basis. After all, in 2016 the actor described his wife in an interview with Esquire magazine as “the love of [his] life.” And, touchingly, in 2018 George told David Letterman that Amal was “someone who [he] would absolutely trade [his] life for.”
Clooney is big pals with Brad Pitt, of course. And Angelina Jolie and Pitt were once the most glamorous couple in Hollywood. But as the A-listers learned, you need more than impossibly good looks to make a marriage work. And after 12 years together – and amid a cloud of speculation – the pair nicknamed Brangelina famously went their separate ways. So, what exactly went wrong? Well, Jolie has since opened up about the end of her marriage – and what she had to say was heartbreaking.
As fans know, Jolie and Pitt first got together in arguably the most tabloid-baiting way possible. The two initially encountered each other on the set of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, when Pitt was of course still wed to Friends star Jennifer Aniston. And rumors soon surfaced that the action comedy’s stars had embarked on an affair during filming – something that Jolie furiously denied.
In any case, Pitt and Aniston divorced in October 2005 – just three months before Jolie revealed that she was expecting the Fight Club actor’s child. She and Pitt would eventually have six kids together, including three adopted children. And after nearly a decade together, they finally walked down the aisle at a ceremony in the French region of Correns in 2014.
Sadly, married life didn’t seem to suit the once-happy duo, as in 2016 they announced their separation. And Jolie and Pitt officially divorced three years later, following lengthy and often fraught discussions about their custody arrangements. But why did it all come crashing down?
Well, as the daughter of Hollywood legend Jon Voight and occasional actress Marcheline Bertrand, Jolie was perhaps always destined to end up on the big screen. She first caught attention as a model, however, before honing her acting talents at NYU and the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute. And Jolie’s film debut as an adult was rather inauspicious; she had just a minor part in maligned sci-fi sequel Cyborg 2.
Jolie had her big break in 1995, though, when she starred opposite future husband Jonny Lee Miller in the cult classic Hackers. And over the next few years, her hard work paid off in spades. The star scooped a Golden Globe for her portrayal as the eponymous governor’s wife in George Wallace; she also picked up an Emmy nod for her leading role in Gia. Further success beckoned, too, after she joined the all-star casts of both Playing by Heart and Pushing Tin.
Then, in 2000, Jolie’s stock rose even higher when she was awarded Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars for her performance in Girl, Interrupted. Capitalizing on her win, she scored a box-office hit with the fast and furious caper Gone in Sixty Seconds. And in 2001 the actress headlined a blockbuster, appearing in the iconic role of Lara Croft in the first of two Tomb Raider adventures.
An in-demand Jolie then appeared alongside Colin Farrell in historical epic Alexander and Jude Law in sci-fi Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Her prolific streak continued after that, too, with a part in Taking Lives and a voiceover gig in Dreamworks animation Shark Tale. But in 2005 Jolie landed a role in the film that would ultimately change her life. This, of course, was Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
And after adding to her filmography with parts in The Good Shepherd and Beowulf, Jolie received further awards recognition for both A Mighty Heart and The Changeling. The likes of The Tourist, Wanted and Salt proved, however, that she could still take on more popular fare. Kung Fu Panda drew in audiences, too; Jolie voiced Tigress in the animated hit.
In 2012, though, Jolie proved that her talents extended beyond acting when In the Land of Blood and Honey hit movie theaters. The Bosnian war drama – which Jolie had directed – received positive reviews, as did her follow-up Unbroken. Her third directorial effort, By the Sea, was by contrast given a critical drubbing upon its 2015 release.
Jolie got things back on track in 2017, though, with First They Killed My Father – a challenging Khmer Rouge-era drama that picked up nominations at both the BAFTAs and Golden Globes. Then, two years later, she once again portrayed the eponymous wicked witch in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. With a worldwide gross of roughly $600 million, the 2014 predecessor to the fantasy flick had been the biggest commercial smash of Jolie’s career.
Yet Jolie’s eventful love life has often taken the focus away from her considerable talents as an actress and director. Her first high-profile romance came in the mid-1990s, when she began dating her Hackers co-star Jonny Lee Miller. And the pair ultimately said ‘I do’ at a ceremony in which Jolie sported a white T-shirt and black pants made of rubber. Bizarrely, she also used her blood to emblazon her top with Miller’s name.
Miller and Jolie separated just a year later, though, and were officially divorced in 1999. Still, the actress wasted little time in moving on. Indeed, in the summer of 2000, she walked down the aisle with another Hollywood actor: the much older Billy Bob Thornton. And the two’s eccentric behavior – famously, they both carried around each other’s blood in containers – provided the tabloids with countless stories.
In 2002 Jolie and Thornton earned extra column inches, too, when they revealed that they had adopted a Cambodian child. Just months on, however, the unlikely couple decided to part company, and in 2003 they officially divorced. And the following year, Jolie reflected on the break-up of her marriage to Vogue, saying, “It took me by surprise, too, because overnight, we totally changed. I think one day we had just nothing in common. And it’s scary, but… I think it can happen when you get involved and you don’t know yourself yet.”
But in 2005 Jolie became a bigger tabloid name than ever – and it was all down to Mr. and Mrs. Smith. At the time, though, the actress was only rumored to have become romantically involved with her male – and very married – co-star Brad Pitt.
And Jolie was apparently keen to put all the gossip to bed. In a 2005 interview with Today, she said, “To be intimate with a married man – when my own father cheated on my mother – is not something I could forgive. I could not look at myself in the morning if I did that. I wouldn’t be attracted to a man who would cheat on his wife.”
Nevertheless, the rumor mill went further into overdrive when Pitt and Aniston separated shortly after Mr. and Mrs. Smith wrapped up. And the relationship was confirmed in January 2006, when Jolie announced that she and her actor beau were expecting their first child. Shiloh Nouvel was born in the Namibian city of Swakopmund in May of that year.
Pitt and Jolie added to their family unit, too, with the 2008 births of twins Knox Léon and Vivienne Marcheline. The new arrivals took their brood to a total of six, as the pair had also adopted a Vietnamese three-year-old named Pax Thien in 2007. Jolie had previously taken in Maddox Chivan in 2002 and then Zahara Marley three years later.
But the couple dubbed by the world’s press as Brangelina took their time in walking down the aisle, as they only became husband and wife in 2014. And, unfortunately, the wedding ceremony – which took place on Pitt and Jolie’s French estate – ultimately proved to be something of a curse.
You see, while Jolie and Pitt had lit up movie theaters in their previous big-screen outing together, they stunk them up in 2015’s By The Sea. Also directed by Jolie, the highly intimate marital drama flopped with both critics and audiences alike. And The Washington Post’s Stephanie Merry was particularly damning about the flick, writing in her review, “Peeling back layer upon layer of exquisite ennui reveals nothing but emptiness sprinkled with stilted sentiments.”
Then, within a year of By the Sea’s release, its stars announced that they were separating. Pitt and Jolie took a further two years to sort out the custody arrangements regarding their six children. And in 2019 the once-luminous couple were officially no more.
Jolie first discussed her separation from Pitt in a 2017 interview with Good Morning America’s George Stephanopoulos. There, the actress – who had specified “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for the divorce – revealed that she and her estranged husband were still focused on their kids’ health. She added, “We will be stronger when we come out of this because that’s what we’re determined to do as a family.”
Later that same year, Jolie also opened up a bit further in a chat with Vanity Fair. Of her marriage split, the star told the magazine, “It’s just been the hardest time, and we’re just kind of coming up for air.” Interestingly, though, she also admitted, “Things got bad. I didn’t want to use that word… Things became ‘difficult.’”
So, how bad did things get? Well, in 2016 Pitt purportedly got into a massive row with Jolie on a plane. The pair’s eldest child, Maddox, even had to step in and act as peacemaker, according to reports. And after that alleged incident, Pitt was then investigated by the FBI on child abuse grounds – although he was subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing.
Furthermore, Pitt’s alcohol consumption was apparently a major cause for concern in his relationship with Jolie. In fact, in 2017 the actor even admitted to GQ that he “could drink a Russian under the table with his own vodka.” At that time, however, Pitt was also keen to state that he no longer relies on booze, adding that he didn’t “want to live that way anymore.”
Yet even following that admission, things continued to get ugly between Pitt and his former wife. In 2018 Jolie argued in court documents that the actor had been neglecting his child support payments since the divorce papers had been initiated. Naturally, Pitt’s legal team fought against that claim, asserting instead that Jolie was both using her kids to “increase the conflict” and to “manipulate media coverage.”
Pitt’s attorneys also argued that the star had given Jolie over $1.3 million over the previous two years. This money had apparently been used for security, travel expenses and therapy for the couple’s six children. It was said, too, that Pitt had loaned his ex a whopping $8 million to help her purchase a brand-new property in the U.K.
And Jolie alluded to the acrimonious split in a 2018 interview with People magazine. While accompanied by Maddox, the Oscar winner revealed, “I have had my ups and downs. I guess I am a little bit stronger. We all have our difficult times, but as a mother, you also have a responsibility first and foremost towards the kids.”
A candid Jolie then added, “[The children] are going through their formative years, and everything else comes second to that. I haven’t worked for over a year now because they needed me home. We’ve all been a bit in lockdown. I think they’re itching to get out in the world again.”
What’s more, Jolie appeared just as happy to talk about her failed relationship with Pitt while promoting sequel Maleficent: Mistress of Evil in 2019. Speaking to Madame Figaro, the actress revealed that since her split, she has been able to more often embrace her free-spirited side. “I feel like I’m coming full circle,” Jolie told the French publication.
During the chat – which was later translated by Lainey Gossip – Jolie also admitted that she felt slightly lost in the wake of the dissolution of her marriage with Pitt. She told Madame Figaro, “I do not know about destiny, but I’m certain that I’m in transition and this is a homecoming. I’m coming back to myself.”
Then, when Jolie was asked at what time she had found things particularly hard to deal with, she gave a heartbreaking reply. “I think it was at the end of my relationship with Brad and then when we separated. It was complicated; I didn’t recognize myself anymore. And I’d become – how do I say this – smaller, insignificant – even if I didn’t show it,” she said.
“I was profoundly, deeply sad. I was hurt,” Jolie continued. “On the other hand, it was interesting to tap into this humility and sense of insignificance. It’s a lesson I pass onto my children. The idea of renewal – and through it all, the possibility of joy. I had to rediscover the joy.”
A month later, Jolie discussed her private life once again in a chat with Harper’s Bazaar. And she told the magazine that her kids had been a huge source of support since her split with their father. “The part of us that is free, wild, open [and] curious can get shut down by life – by pain or by harm,” Jolie revealed. “My children know my true self, and they have helped me to find it again and to embrace it.”
Jolie went on to add, “[My children] have been through a lot. I learn from their strength. As parents, we encourage our kids to embrace all that they are and all that they know in their hearts to be right. And they look back at us and want the same for us.”
However, Jolie also seemed to imply that her ex-husband is still imposing some restrictions on her lifestyle. The star told Harper’s Bazaar, you see, that she “would love to live abroad and will do so as soon as [her] children are 18.” In the meantime, though, the actress is “having to base where [the kids’ father] chooses to live.”
Pitt is still situated in Los Angeles, of course, and the custody arrangements ironed out between him and Jolie mean that she can’t relocate far outside the city with their six kids. Nonetheless, the Maleficent star has claimed that she still wants her brood to develop the same sense of adventure as she has over the years.
Jolie told Harper’s Bazaar, “My favorite place is somewhere I’ve never been. I like to be dropped into the middle of something new. I enjoy being out of my element. I want the children to grow up in the world – not just learning about it, but living it and having friends around the world. Next year, we break ground on a home in Africa.”
In fact, Jolie even challenged readers to break from their old routines. She advised, “Don’t just be comfortable with what is generally accepted but find the new. Find your oxygen, your originality, your own voice. Live more fully. Rebel. Resist. Question. Be curious. Explore. Go outside what is comfortable to you. Say the thing you’ve been afraid to say. Put down this magazine and go and do one thing today you’ve never done before.”
And Jolie appears to be taking her own advice when it comes to her career choices, as she’ll soon be starring in her first superhero film. The actress will portray Thena in The Eternals, which is scheduled for release in late 2020. Before that, though, Jolie will appear as a bereaved mother in fantasy Come Away as well as the big-screen adaptation of Michael Koryta’s Those Who Wish Me Dead.