This is the first time I’ve been away from the twins... Amal sends pictures & I think ‘God, I wish I was with them!’
George Clooney has achieved global fame, amassed a fortune worth hundreds of millions, happily married a top lawyer, and was recently blessed with twins.
So, at 56, does the actor, director and heart-throb have any more ambitions?
George says: “All I can do is hope that I am not chasing my kids around with a walker and cane or switching diapers with them.”
The star is in Toronto to chat about Suburbicon, a film he directed starring Matt Damon and Julianne Moore, but his mind is very much back at home.
This trip is the first time he’s been away from wife Amal, 39, their son Alexander and daughter Ella.
There are small outward signs that George has changed since becoming a dad – a smidgen of under-eye darkness from helping with night-time feeds.
But a far bigger transformation has taken place inside. The ex-commitmentphobic ladies man who serial dated models is now a family man. George says: “I couldn’t be more in love and more happy with my family. I’m 56, which is old to be doing this and I didn’t really think it was going to happen in my life. So it’s all icing on the cake.
“I thought that my life was going to be focused on my career. Then I have this incredible relationship and then all of a sudden we have these two knuckleheads who make me laugh every day.
“Today is the first time I’ve been away from them since they were born and I wish I was with them. My wife sends me pictures of them and I think, ‘God I wish I was with my kids’. I’m excited to get home. It’s nice to feel this way.”
Life for George and Amal, who have a home overlooking the Thames in Sonning, Berkshire, may sound like bliss.
But George says: “I wasn’t completely unaware of what life would be like with children. All my friends have kids and I am godfather to about 20.
“The surprise for me was how much more complicated twins are than one. It’s not like twice as much work, it’s more than that. It changes everything and you don’t sleep. So I have such admiration for my wife, who is getting about two hours
of sleep [in] intervals a night. She is up breastfeeding these two knuckleheads – all they want to do is eat and I don’t understand what is going on.
“I have two children that don’t even care that I exist right now. I have nothing to give them except a bottle every once in a while, and they are happy. But, other than that, it’s all Amal right now.”
It’s clear to see why George is feeling content. He recently sold tequila firm Casamigos, which he founded with two friends, for a billion dollars and stands to make another $100million, or £73million, as a Nespresso spokesman.
But George insists his children, born on June 6, will realise how lucky they are. He says: “I want to make sure that my children understand that they were, by birthright, given things that other children aren’t, and some of it is good and some of it is bad.”
And though he has won Oscars for both acting and directing – and counts A-listers including Cindy Crawford, Brad Pitt and Barack Obama among his friends – George hasn’t forgotten his hard road to stardom, before landing the role of Dr Doug Ross in TV’s ER in 1994.
“I look at every day as an exciting adventure because I wasn’t supposed to have this career, and I wasn’t supposed to be in the position I am,” he says.
“I grew up in Kentucky and I sold insurance door to door, worked in a ladies’ shoe department and cut tobacco for three dollars and 33 cents an hour.
“I’d buy suits that were too long and cut the bottoms off, hem them with a stapler and make ties for work out of them. I am the first person to say yeah, I am lucky. And so I enjoy that and I don’t take it for granted.”
When George sold Casamigos, he gave almost £15million to charity. He says: “Amal and I talked about it, as I made some pretty good money out of it, and we asked, ‘What does it really do to change our lives?’
“So we took $20million and put it into our foundation. It gives us the opportunity not to have to do fundraisers with people we can’t stand. The money will go towards educating refugees, housing and all the things we want to work on.
“We are building schools in Lebanon, putting 5,000 kids into education, as the quickest way to defeat terrorism in general is to give people an education, hope and something to do.”
George is bringing charity even closer to home, with an Iraqi refugee living in the Clooney family home in Kentucky.
“I don’t really want to name him yet because he has family in Iraq and ISIS is still there,” he says. “But he is an amazing kid. He has got into the University of Chicago and in the meantime he is my father’s best friend. I say he’s the son that my father always wanted because he thinks all my dad’s jokes are new.”
Before family life got so full, George co-wrote the script for Suburbicon, about an insurance fraud and murder in the 1950s. It is based on a Coen brothers script and George added a racial conflict.
“I wanted it to be violent and angry,” he says. “We need to address these issues which unfortunately still exist today.”
Spare time is rare, but whenever George is at his English retreat he loves joining regulars at his local, The Bull. He says: “It’s really old and all the doorways hit you in the head, which is dangerous when you are drinking. I love it there.
“There’s a nice restaurant down the street and we have to walk through a cemetery to get to the pub. On the way back it’s very creepy, but it’s fantastic.”
I’d buy suits that were too long and cut the bottoms off to make ties GEORGE ON LONG ROAD TO FAME AND FORTUNE
HAPPY FAMILY Amal and George Clooney TWIN EFFORT Lawyer Amal with one of their babies DOTING DAD George helps out carrying second tot
MOVIE PALS At Suburbicon premiere with Julianne Moore