Like most married couples, George and Amal Clooney have had their ups and downs. The highs no doubt include the birth of their twins in 2017. And the lows… Well, trying to maintain a relationship must be hard when you’re a world-famous actor and a high-powered humanitarian lawyer. So it’s perhaps no surprise that there has been plenty of talk about troubles in their marriage. But it all came to a head recently when an insider dropped a bombshell about the Clooneys.
Yet Amal and George’s love certainly seems worth saving. After all, it’s a romance story from Hollywood itself: the heartthrob in his 50s, seemingly never to find anyone whom he wants to marry, meets the hotshot legal eagle, and they become man and wife. Kids follow, and for a while it looks as if fairytales really can come true.
All is not quite sweetness and light, 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.”
But George has always insisted that he’s happily married. In 2015, for instance, he told Harper’s Bazaar about his relationship, saying, “I’m a much happier person, 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 plenty happy when he talked to The Australian Women’s Weekly in September 2018. He said, “[Amal]’s an amazing person, and she’s caring and one of the smartest people I’ve met.” And although Amal accepts that life in the spotlight has its downsides, the lawyer returned the praise. She said at the American Film Institute gala, “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 his career, George – who was born in May 1961 and is a native of Lexington, Kentucky – may not at first have thought of a life in movies. He was a talented baseballer as a child, you see, and he tried for the Cincinnati Reds – albeit unsuccessfully. And at university the star took a major in journalism but didn’t graduate from either school that he attended. As a result, George ended up making a living in various jobs, such as selling shoes and working in construction.
But then, after a few small roles, George won decent parts on TV. He subsequently built his profile up until he landed a starring part in hospital drama ER. And his turn as Dr. Doug Ross made him a household name. Nominations for Emmys and Golden Globes flooded in, too, and the actor started to appear in films.
After his stint in ER ended, in fact, George began nabbing more serious movie roles. His success as a lead reached a peak in the reboot of Ocean’s Eleven – which raked in over $450 million in box-office receipts. Critical acclaim came his way, too, and he won an Oscar in 2006 for his part in Syriana.
In 2018 Forbes magazine reckoned that George was the globe’s most richly rewarded thespian – pulling 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. So it’s no wonder Time magazine noted that he was one of the world’s most influential people. And George has also used that reputation in the political sphere and for peace work.
For her part, though, Amal Alamuddin entered the world in February 1978 in Beirut, Lebanon. She then grew up in London, England, and studied at elite universities in the U.K. and the U.S. – eventually getting called to the bar in both countries. The polyglot Amal later found a place at top law firm Doughty Street Chambers.
Amal made a name for herself defending big-name characters – and not always the most popular among them. For instance, she took the case of Wikileaks’ Julian Assange and advised the King of Bahrain – whose commitment to human rights has been scrutinized critically. Amal did not just spend her time as a hotshot barrister, though. 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 righthand men. The legal star also teaches at universities predominantly in the U.S., and in 2019 she accepted a role investigating media freedom with the U.K. government.
So it may seem unlikely that the worlds of Hollywood and humanitarian law would ever come together. But that’s exactly what happened in 2013. George recounted the moment on My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman in 2018. A friend had apparently brought Amal to George’s home near Lake Como, Italy, and the pal had told the actor, “I met this woman who is coming to your house who you’re going to marry.” The film star was understandably skeptical, however, since he was at the time a legendary “confirmed bachelor.”
But when the actor met the lawyer, his heart was quickly captured. At first, the couple became penpals – as George shared with entertainment magazine The Hollywood Reporter. He said, “She 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.”
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 – so he was able to give her a tour. He told 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 in the Alamuddin family, though. George told the publication about the grilling that Amal received about him. He said, “She’d had a conversation with her parents, who were like, ‘What are George’s intentions?’” She told them not to worry; it had only been six months. But little did she know that George was already all in.
In April 2014, you see, Amal came unsuspecting for dinner at George’s home. He had a lot more than supper on his mind, though, and secreted a seven-carat engagement ring in the box that contained the lighter that Amal would use to light the candles at the table. And when the time came, George took a knee and popped the question.
George told Town & Country magazine about the moment, 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***!’ 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. The couple kept the big day to themselves at first – but word inevitably got out. As George told The Hollywood Reporter, “Oh my God! Once people got wind of it, it became an event.”
Still, the wedding was a relatively low-key affair at Aman Canal Grande resort in Venice, Italy. Attending were family and friends, some of whom were celebrities themselves. These included fellow marrieds Emily Blunt and John Krasinski, George’s costar from the Ocean’s series Matt Damon, and modeling legend Cindy Crawford.
As the song goes, after marriage comes the baby carriage. However, George had no plans in that direction. He told Town & Country, “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 marrying, though, George’s mind turned to fatherhood, and the pair resolved that they would become a three. But as it turned out, a subsequent ultrasound brought some surprising news. The doctor doing the procedure spotted a second child, you see, and in June 2017 the Clooneys welcomed twin babies Alexander and Ella.
George later sang Amal’s praises when he appeared on My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman. He said, “She 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.”
Although the pair still had busy lives, they naturally made time for the twins – even jetting around the world with the newborns. And if it wasn’t easy to fit the babies into schedules that included the Casamigos sale, film making and continuing work at the bar, the Clooneys made it look effortless.
But away from the lenses of the paparazzi, it wasn’t all smooth sailing. According to reports, the couple fought over their different ways of life. Amal, it’s claimed, found George’s love of parties too much while he, the story goes, felt smothered. It all reached a peak with her living in New York while he reportedly mostly stayed in Europe.
George then shared some of the stress that had been placed on his family in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in May 2019. 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.”
In January 2019, in fact, “insiders” were telling entertainment website Radar Online that things had come to a head. Amal had, they claimed, shifted to a space that the couple had bought in Italy. It was alleged that George was “beside himself” and had been sending her a stream of SMS messages that begged her to return home.
The supposed sources painted a picture of imminent divorce that was somewhat at odds with the star’s depiction of his life when he discussed it with entertainment network ET a few months later. When asked about 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, life’s great.”
And in June of 2019 George shared with U.K. newspaper the Daily Mail that he was still hugely in love. The actor said, “And they said it wouldn’t last! I can’t imagine being more in love with her than I am, and I can’t imagine somebody I’m more proud of.”
But things still bubbled to the surface, as the couple were reported to be 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 reported, doesn’t go with him – although she does travel for her work as well.
So, with conflict seemingly racking the couple’s relationship, something needed to be done. But it seems that the pair found a way to maintain their marriage despite their differences. A source reportedly shared with Australian women’s magazine New Idea that they had come to an understanding that would help them stay together and flourish.
The source told the publication, “Divorce isn’t an option to either of them, 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.”
According to New Idea, the source explained the purported basis for the celebrity pair’s understanding. They said, “[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 source allegedly close to Amal and George had characterized the differences between the pair. They alleged that while Amal was focused on work, George liked to party much more. The source told Radar Online, “She’s all business; he’s all play.”
As the supposed insider told New Idea, that might change a little bit, with the two agreeing on a new approach that might work for both of them. They said, “George promised he’d rein in his partying, especially when they’re in the same city, and Amal has given assurances to stop micro-managing and let him let his hair down every now and then.”
But that wasn’t all, as it was claimed that Amal had grown tired of the red carpet and glamor that are a big part of the couple’s lives. The source said, “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.”
George also apparently decided to dedicate much more focus on Amal’s work as a human rights lawyer. The source explained, “He’s taking a much bigger interest, which means reading up on politics and law so they have more to discuss when they are together.”
The apparent insider explained 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.”
However, while Amal and George might stay together as a couple, they won’t necessarily be physically together much more than they were before the agreement. The source noted, “That 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.” More dramatically, George told David Letterman in 2018 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.