George Clooney is a family man now and mostly stays off-screen, opting to spend time with his young children and his wife, Amal Clooney.
Before the actor settled down, he made in one more outrageous, if generous, caper when he visited a warehouse in an undisclosed location to pick up $14 million in cash to surprise his 14 closest friends.
In an interview with GQ, — which crowned Clooney its Icon of the Year, among other honorees — it’s the first time he’s confirmed the story since his friend Rande Gerber shared it on MSNBC in 2017.
Clooney said that when he appeared in “Gravity,” a thriller set in space costarring Sandra Bullock, the movie wasn’t expected to be a hit when it was released in 2013, so Clooney said he was given “percentages of the movie” in lieu of a salary.
Gravity ended up being a hit anyway, so Clooney walked away with a few million dollars. During that time, he didn’t have a family and wasn’t married yet. So, instead of saving it, he gave it away — in cash — to his closest friends.
“And I thought, you know, without them I don’t have any of this,” Clooney said of his friends. “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 f**k am I waiting to get hit by a bus?”
As Clooney tells the story to GQ, he drove an old van to a warehouse in downtown Los Angeles where “they have giant pallets of cash,” filled luggage with $14 million worth and called his friends to come over to his home.
“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,” Clooney told GQ. “And I said, ‘How do you repay people like that?’ And I said, ‘Oh, well: How about a million bucks?'”
It’s one of several personal details Clooney shared in the interview, in which he also discussed how he learned the art of acting on “ER,” the time he fell and spinal fluid leaked from his nose on a film set and the motorcycle accident from which he miraculously emerged relatively unharmed.