George Clooney has just been crowned GQ's icon of the year, and the magazine's corresponding interview with him revealed his wonderfully generous gesture.
In 2017, his good friend Rande Gerber went on MSNBC and told a story about how, years earlier, Clooney had summoned 14 of his closest friends and given them each a million dollars, in cash, in a suitcase. Clooney has never really confirmed or denied doing this, until his GQ interview this month.
In 2013, he didn't yet have a family, nor any real idea or hope that someday he would, although he had just met Amal. “And I thought, what I do have are these guys who've all, over a period of 35 years, helped me in one way or another. I've slept on their couches when I was broke. They loaned me money when I was broke. They helped me when I needed help over the years. And I've helped them over the years. We're all good friends. And I thought, you know, without them I don't have any of this. And we're all really close, and I just thought basically if I get hit by a bus, they're all in the will. So why the fuck am I waiting to get hit by a bus?”
So how do you lay your hands on $14 million in cash? Clooney did some research and discovered there was a place in Los Angeles that, remarkably, stored giant pallets of cash. Clooney got himself an old beat-up van that said “Florist” on it, drove downtown, got in an elevator with his van down to the vault and loaded it up with cash. He told no one but his assistant “and a couple of security guys that were shitting themselves. And we brought it up, and I bought 14 Tumi bags, and then I packed in a million bucks, cash, which isn't as much as you think it is, weight-wise, into these Tumi bags.”
The next day he invited his 14 best friends round to his house. “And I just held up a map and I just pointed to all the places I got to go in the world and all the things I've gotten to see because of them. And I said, ‘How do you repay people like that?’ And I said, ‘Oh, well: How about a million bucks?’ And the fun part about it was: That was the 27th, the 28th of September. A year later, on the 27th of September, just by happenstance, was the day I got married.”
To round the story off, he added: “You know, it's funny. I remember talking to one really rich asshole who I ran into in a hotel in Vegas - certainly a lot richer than I am. And I remember the story about the cash had come out, and he was like, ‘Why would you do that?’ ”
Clooney smiles. “And I was like, ‘Why wouldn't you do that, you schmuck?’ ”