George Clooney says that before he got married & had kids, his life was ‘pretty empty’

Royal wedding

When George Clooney got engaged to then-Amal Alamuddin, did you think it would last? I didn’t. I thought it was fun and interesting when they got married, and I thought they would get tired of each other pretty quickly. But here we are, six and a half years after their Venice wedding, and they seem… completely fine. He supports her work, she supports his work. They have two babies and he seems like a shockingly hands-on father. They seem pretty chilled out, to be honest. Turns out, George and Amal are those “when you meet the right person, everything works out” kinds of people. George chatted with the Today Show about Amal, his marriage and fatherhood. Some highlights:

What fatherhood has given him: “Oh, everything. (It’s given me) a sense of belonging and a sense of home and unconditional love — all the things that you were hoping you could get from a really good career and a dog. You realize that this is a lot more than that.”

Why his family life works: “I found the right person to have them with. There are some people, their goal was, ‘I have to have children.’ Mine wasn’t. I wasn’t looking at life, going, ‘My life will be unfulfilled without children.’ I felt like I had a pretty full life. Then I met Amal and realized that my life had been pretty empty. And then when you throw these two kids in there, then suddenly you realize how incredibly empty it was.” With a family, “it fills it all up, it makes it fun.”

George & Amal are a team: “We’ve been a team really since we met. The most we’ve ever been apart is three or four days, never had a fight, which people always get ticked off when I say. You know, we’ve been married seven years. We have a really wonderful life together. We’re both busy, but we’re both very involved in each other’s lives, which is nice.”

He never thought he’d be married & with kids in his 50s: “I would have considered 50 practically dead. Now, I’ll be 60 in a couple of months. Now I’m like, ‘60’s not so old; 60’s young, really.’ I’m OK. I’m fine with all of it. The number 70 will put a hitch in my giddyup a little bit, but I think the rest of it I can handle.”

[From Today]

I know that he’s just talking narrowly about himself but some of this got on my nerves! “Then I met Amal and realized that my life had been pretty empty. And then when you throw these two kids in there, then suddenly you realize how incredibly empty it was.” Dude was an Oscar-winning actor, a director, a tequila-company co-founder, father to a pig, owner of a gorgeous Italian mansion in Como and rich beyond belief, with tons of friends and a steady stream of girlfriends, all before he met Amal. He acts like his life was nothing, that it didn’t have any meaning, that it was all nothingness and an empty void. I mean, I’m happy that he enjoys fatherhood and marriage so much, truly, because I had no idea he would be good at it. But he’s being kind of sanctimonious about it and it’s annoying to people who are childfree by choice or necessity.

Amal Clooney is all smiles as she steps out with her children  Alexander and Ella

George Clooney, Amal Clooney attends The premiere of "Catch-22" in Los Angeles

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.

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91 Responses to “George Clooney says that before he got married & had kids, his life was ‘pretty empty’”

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  1. Kim says:

    Love the shot of his son giving the sink eye to the paparazzi.

    • Chaine says:

      That is one angry bebe!

    • Carmen-JamRock says:

      Hmmmmmmm…….seems like George hit a nerve.

    • Joan Rivers says:

      This may be a man who enjoyed privilege and wealth but then found substance and realized kids can put you in your place and be a lot of fun. He seems to have a sense of humor.
      Though she doesn’t. But she probably does.

  2. meloroast says:

    I don’t understand why people have to knock one type of lifestyle (which some of us didn’t really choose per se, but you don’t always get what you want) or life stage for another. There are MANY ways to live a fulfilling and beautiful life. I really wish those with families or a “typical” lifestyle would stop looking down on those who don’t. It’s demeaning and tbh, causes a lot of shame.

    Marriage and kids isn’t for everyone for all kinds of reason. And achieving it doesn’t suddenly mean everything is all good. Plenty of people lose themselves in relationship and family. Many pros and cons on both sides. So let’s just be happy for what we have while not pointing to others with pity.

    • Nicole says:

      He feels his life was empty before he had kids. It isn’t a condemnation or a piece of advice. He’s talking about how he felt about his life. That’s it. He found his thing. My thing is storytelling. I love my kids but they don’t fulfil me. They’re work. His thing is kids. The storytelling didn’t fulfil him, it was work. The fact that I make fulfilling zines that nobody reads and he makes blockbuster movies that everyone sees doesn’t make storytelling any less important to me and it doesn’t make storytelling any more important to him. Different thing make different people happy. That’s it.

      • SM says:

        Seriously, he is not forcing anything on anyone. The bottom line is – no one can anticipate how they will be transformed, changed or how they will feel about some change before it happens. This is why people sang, wrote poems and are drawn to topics like love, loss, grief, happyness. Etc. The same goes for having kids. I was like George, only much much less accomplished, but I was well into my thirties and had things figured out for my self. Never wanted kids. I was one of those women who never imagined herself as a mom. Now I can not imagine of not having the experience of motherhood. I frankly like my self less when I was alone rather than now. I love that I have a front seat to a spectacle that is called “becoming a person”. Yet, I never ever ask or even say this to any of my childless friends. I am not trying to impose anything on anyone. I think that maybe what George is saying is something similar. He probably is as surprised by how the changes in his life changed him. And that is the think. Everyone is entitled to decide the kind of life they want. It only a bit funny when people who never had kids say that they are better off without kids. Well how exactly do they know? It is entirely different thing to just say: I chose not to have kids and I am happy with my choice.

      • Lorelei says:

        @Nicole I agree with you to a point, but I’m also married with a child and would never make a comment like this in a million years, especially not publicly like him.

        In an ideal world you’d be right. But that’s not the world we live in. Society is EXTREMELY cruel to single women after a certain age. “Spinster,” “cat ladies,” I could go on. And it’s *so* much worse for women who aren’t single by choice.

        My best friend always just assumed she’d get married and have children, and she dated a lot and tried, but she never met the right person, and now she’s 45 and so depressed. I’ve witnessed decades of her misery at the unfairness of it, so I’m just really sensitive about it. She’s the last one in her friend group to be unmarried and to not have at least one child. She’s always supportive of us, and happy when we do have these life experiences, which is why I’m so extra careful about anything I say or post online that she could see that might make her feel worse. Comments like his come across as smug and dismissive of every other aspect of life.

        He could have talked about how happy he is while wording it in a way that wouldn’t make a huge segment of the population take offense to, or sadden. The way he worded it was cruelly unnecessary imo.

      • Nicole says:

        @Lorelei I feel for your friend. But I also feel for widows who have to see people celebrate valentine’s day. I feel for orphans who have to see Christmas decorations. I feel for the people in my writing group who cry out about loneliness because it defines their whole lives. It’s not fair that some people get nothing and other people are fulfilled and rich. It’s really not fair.

        But the fix for that problem is not for everybody to hush up. It’s actually for people to share stories and work for change. Your best friend should have access to free (or very affordable) mental health care. If she is financially secure, she should be given a fair assessment and support so that she can adopt if she chooses to.

        Looking back on what you wrote and what I wrote, I have to admit that I would not talk the way Clooney is talking for the exact reason you’ve laid out. It IS insensitive. On the one hand, people should be allowed to speak freely about their own lives. But, on the other, when someone is insensitive, it should be pointed out. Between us, I think we’ve covered all the bases.

      • Lorelei says:

        @Nicole, yes I think we’re on the same page.
        I’m not saying he shouldn’t express his happiness, only that it could have been worded differently.

  3. Sean says:

    Call me a cynic but I genuinely believe he paid attention to all of the quips about him being
    the stereotypical older, rich man with a steady stream of much younger girlfriends and realized he had turned into that caricature. So he got married ( to a much younger woman), produced a couple of kids and now he’s the stereotypical older rich guy who married a much younger woman and is a father who will be in his 80s just when his kids are going off to college (or becoming influencers, etc)
    I always found it interesting he dumped Stacey Kiebler and got with Amal seemingly right after Tina Fey and Amy Peohler made those jokes.

    • just a small town girl says:

      I don’t necessarily disagree that much with you but cut him some slack; Amal isn’t a “much younger woman”, there’s what, like 12 years difference? In your 50s that’s not nearly as much as it could be, and far more normal than some people (side eye to David Foster for example).

    • Léna says:

      He was already with Amal when he made those jokes, no?

    • Plums says:

      I’m not saying it isn’t obnoxious whenever people who seem to have it all flaunt their perfect lives like this, but Amal isn’t a stereotypical trophy wife; c’mon now. And they joked about him a year later, after he got married, about how ridiculous it was that he was married to someone so much more accomplished and consequential than he was, and yet he was slated to be honored with a lifetime achievement award that night, lol. He laughed about it; he didn’t run out and divorce her and marry some young do-nothing lady who lunches after that because, omg they were making fun of him! He’s a white, wealthy, charismatic, good looking, extremely successful and popular person. He has never in his whole insanely blessed, privileged life had cause to feel insecure about anything.

      And when you’re as rich as George Clooney is, age doesn’t mean the same as it does for most people. Barring some illness, he’ll be able to take care of himself and will probably be in better shape in his 70s than most middle aged parents are, just because he can afford it and has the time to devote to a very healthy lifestyle.

    • ennie says:

      WOOOPSIE, I became a mom at almost 50 I’m such a sad sack.

    • diana says:

      Maybe. But there are a lot of people out there. Who swear they are never going to get married or have kids and then change their minds.

    • Noodle says:

      Yes, didn’t Amy Poehler and Tina Fey actually laugh at him on stage during some show? They later highlighted how successful Amal was at another award show though. Think George was aware he was becoming kind of a joke, dating two-year-contract gfs, etc.

      Think he had his fun for a long time (firmly believe he’s bisexual) and then biologically was ready to settle down. He wasn’t ever going to marry just an “ordinary” woman; he’s always had political ambitions. Rumour has it he was trying to date Fatima Bhutto, a real intellectual and activist with a political “pedigree.” However she wasn’t one bit interested and she lives a really low-key life in Pakistan writing serious pieces/books, not turning up to court in designer gear head to toe or doing pap walks in the latest catwalk fashions, LOL. If he hadn’t succeeded with Amal, he’d have eventually found someone else with humanitarian and intellectual cred because that’s what he was always going for.

      I do think they’re happy and he bends over backwards to make her happy, so good for them. However, I think she’s more of a stunt barrister and show pony and she might have fans who believe one case, two cases, or three dozen cases are going to solve everything, which is pablum. The biggest humanitarian and human rights outcomes (impacting the most people) are best achieved through powerful countries acting without excessive self-interest, with lots of self-restraint, and not going around disrupting and destablising poor countries. And of course holding multinational corporations from defence contractors to food companies accountable.

      All those show trials – yes, they play a part but it’s a pretty small one and all those simplistic legal-tv-shows that have given the impression everything is solved with a trial. However, she does give any case she takes on PR coverage – so there’s the publicity benefit – partly by showing up with a new designer outfit, LOL. George also has a worrying heroic thing going on. Think his pet cause is South Sudan and he’s into intervening in these poor countries – which usually (usually/always) makes things much worse.

      • Tina says:

        Wow, yes, noodle. All of this. Well said.

      • Chartreuse says:

        Noodle said it perfectly.

        I also think they get on so well as this is a business arrangement. It suits both of them. But I’m cynical about George

    • Dilettante says:

      Stacey’s contractual term was expiring.

  4. Lexy says:

    I felt the same way reading it. I’m glad people feel fulfilled after getting married and having kids! I just wish those that have would give single people the same courtesy. Stop asking when we will have kids or why we won’t. Stop telling us we are selfish not to or that I will never know true happiness or love. Not everyone wants it can have the same path you do, it does not mean I am lacking anything. And you know what? My dog gives me perfect unconditional love, thanks George.

  5. elfie says:

    OMG – the face on that little boy, lmao… he looks like Edward G. Robinson

  6. jbyrdku says:

    Yeah, I actually hate when people do this. Live your life however you want, but to recast your life before parenthood and marriage as empty and meaningless smacks of bullshit.

    • lucy2 says:

      I agree. He had a pretty awesome life before marriage/kids, and now it’s awesome in a different way. It was just a different phase of his life, and without it he probably wouldn’t appreciate his current phase.

    • Lua says:

      Money doesn’t necessarily bring happiness. Neither does being a playboy. If it did so many actors wouldn’t succumb to depression, suicide, and drug overdose. He’s speaking his truth. If it rattles you, you should look into your own soul because something is clearly not satisfying in your life.
      I never wanted kids either. I got my masters. I graduated from a competitive program at the top of my class. Traveled around the country. Got a career at the most prestigious cancer hospital in the world. Partied with friends till late in the evening five nights a week. I NEVER wanted kids. I had one on purpose in my mid thirties when my clock started ticking and one unplanned in my late thirties and I would agree with him. They make me feel whole. I’ve never loved anyone until my son was born. I’ve never told anyone I loved them without being prompted to until he was born. Now I feel love. They give me energy again. We do all of the fun amazing things together that I wish my parents had done with me. They inspired me to start up my photography business again. I wrote two children’s books I sent in for publishing. I haven’t taken time for writing or photography in years. That’s my truth. If people saying that upsets you as a child free person that’s not on that person, it’s you reflecting some empty space on them. He didn’t say you have to do this to be happy. He said it is what made him happy. It doesn’t mean he rewrote his story, is lying, or is attacking you.

      • Annabel says:

        +1000

      • Belle says:

        Bravo!!! I am the same, never wanted kids and now I have four beautiful children and I feel fulfilled. They have made me realized things about myself I would have never come to had I not have them. Do I miss freedom? sometimes, but I miss them more. I am not unhappy I had children, but not saying that anyone else should.

      • Barca says:

        Bravo. Thank you. Same for me. I had my kid late after I had done some amazing things and achieved a lot; becoming a mom has absolutely been the life defining moment for me.

      • Ange says:

        You never loved *anyone* until your kids were born? Doesn’t sound like people without kids are the ones who were missing something there.

  7. ReginaGeorge says:

    I don’t think it’s being sanctimonious. Sometimes you don’t even know what you are missing if you’ve never had it or cared about it before. For HIM, it looks like in retrospect, after getting married and having a family, he probably can’t fathom now being without it. I don’t see him saying that the rest of us need should feel this way. I wasn’t a big dog person. Never really cared for them. Never had a pet as a kid. Fought my daughter tooth and nail against getting one. Then she wore me down and I became THAT pet owner and can’t imagine my life without my pooch and I am super attached and protective and spoil her often lol.

    • NTheMiddle says:

      This. I took at him as saying, yeah, I was busy and successful but really didn’t understand the hoopla over marriage and kids until now becauseI never wanted it. It gave him a different view and purpose. Timing is everything too… he enjoyed the playboy lifestyle but met Amal at the right time. No doubt all the jabs at his string of girlfriends had influence on his readiness, but I think he legitimately got tired of it and seems content with his new life now. He looks peaceful. Good for him.

      • MaryContrary says:

        I totally agree. I think we all need to take a step back periodically too and realize when someone is describing what their own thoughts are about their own life, it’s not a slight against anyone else and how they’re living. People are really quick to take offense.

    • Reece says:

      This is how I took it and I’m childless by choice. I took it as he was happy with his life before but found more happiness in exactly what he thought, at the time, he didn’t need or want. He is not saying that this is what everybody should do.

    • Cas says:

      This is how I took it too. He’s talking about his own experience, not forcing his view onto anyone else.

    • E.D says:

      Yep.
      I don’t know what anyone would be upset over his words.
      I don’t think he comes off as preachy at all here but is simply stating how it is for him these days and how he never expected or wanted this life but is crazy grateful and fulfilled by how it all turned out.

  8. ME says:

    I wonder if his wife felt that way before marrying him and having kids? I mean how empty of a life to be a successful lawyer. Thank God she found a man and popped out some kids or God forbid she’d live a miserable life ! Ok dude whatever.

    • FeatherDuk says:

      The life of a “successful” lawyer can be very empty indeed. I know many very “successful” lawyers who have committed suicide. Most recently a week ago. Children/Spouse/Family/Friends can bring you much more joy than a job. And it’s just a job, that’s all it is.

      • ME says:

        Not to some people. People of all professions commit suicide. See this is the problem. People just assume that a career can’t make you happy or fulfilled. YES IT CAN. A husband and kids doesn’t always make you happy either or make you feel “complete”.

      • Moneypenny says:

        Agreed. Successful lawyer here. If you’re at a big, high profile firm, it means ridiculous hours and not much life outside of it. A lot of us felt pretty empty.

        I don’t think one thing can “fill up” most people. Without my career or without good friendships, I also probably wouldn’t be happy in my marriage, so I don’t think a full life consists of one ingredient. You certainly don’t have to be married or have kids to be happy, but if you ONLY have a successful career without friends, family, hobbies, etc., I don’t think many would consider themselves happy.

      • tcbc says:

        Please use the phrase “died by suicide.” Also many parents have died by suicide, what on earth are you saying?

      • meloroast says:

        Yes, and some commit suicide because of their horrible relationships with their families.

      • Ann says:

        I am a former lawyer, and my husband still practices at a big firm. He is in a leadership position there and the mental wellness of their attorneys is very much a concern for them, one they now (thankfully) do a lot of things to address. It wasn’t like that when we both started. I started at a big firm and I was miserable, so I switched to non-profit. He is a better fit for it. He gets stressed, but not depressed or horribly anxious.

      • Verea says:

        As a person with lifelong suicidal ideation and a few close calls, I cannot STAND “died by suicide”. Please give me the curtesy of agency. Life is pretty terrible for most people most of the time, yet everyone acts like you have to be completely mentally incompetent to want to make an exit. It’s actually pretty damn rational. If I choose to do so at some point, I hope people will be honest and say “Verea killed herself.”

  9. Chaine says:

    Let’s revisit this, buddy, when you are seventy-something and your kids are sullen/rebellious teenagers and your wife is dealing with constant hot flashes.

  10. Aphra says:

    I actually liked what he said a lot. He doesn’t mention any choices made by any other people — he isn’t judging single people or people without children. He was saying how incredibly rich his family make him feel, so much so that all that fame and money before pales.
    I think that’s a great message.
    Plus, I like that they don’t fight. You hear that so rarely. I’ve been with my partner for 18 years, and we have really never had a fight (e.g. raised voices), and I can count on my hand the number of times we’ve diagreed or sniped at each other, and we’ve always apologied and talked it through within minutes.
    Overall, a nice interview and I’m happy for him. Sad that it made almost everyone else here so defensive and hurt. That part sucks.

    • FeatherDuk says:

      I agree 100%. I don’t understand the negativity and vitriol surrounding his very positive comments about his own joy.

      • Kristen says:

        The vitriol is because he’s the one who made the negative comments. He could’ve said, “My life was pretty fulfilling before, and now it’s fulfilling in entirely different ways that I didn’t expect.” But instead of that he said that his life was empty before. As though the things and people you have in your life are garbage, but you can’t realize it until you have marriage and kids.

      • Fabiola says:

        If he thought his life was empty before he had a wife and kids then that’s his opinion and he is entitled to it since it’s his life. He’s strictly talking about his life not anyone else’s. I always I would have kids later in life since I wanted to travel and was in school for my doctoral. Having my son was the most fulfilling experience of my life. Nothing compares to sharing my life with him. That’s my experience. I’m not knocking anyone that wants to be child free. Everyone is different and must find their own path in life.

    • ReginaGeorge says:

      Yup!

    • Cas says:

      Totally agree with you @Aphra

  11. Valiantly Varnished says:

    I have to say I always had good vibes from them. I didn’t see them as a flash in the pan. Mostly because of who Amal is. And the fact that she is VERY different from the women he dated in the past. It seemed like he grew up and met someone who was essentially “better” than him in a lot of ways. And I think men do well when they have to step up to meet their partners level – and are willing to do so.

    • AnneSurely says:

      Yeah, he sounds like the men I’ve known who date a woman with gravitas after years of party girls. They suddenly realize that life is more when you build emotional bonds and have a significant other with a brain and meaningful work and character.

      • Noodle says:

        Party girls and party boys, I assume (no direct knowledge or proof). I think George was super wild but discreetly so, had his fun, and is now genuinely happy being the dad/husband. When he says he had an empty life before it’s from this new, older body (biological urges winding down) perspective. In his 30s, 40s, he was probably very happy living an “empty” life. Bottom line: people change. I suppose he always comes across as a little sanctimonious but think he’s genuinely changed.

  12. Astrid says:

    I enjoyed his comments. He’s talking personally, not putting anybody down. It was the right person, time, place, etc for him.

    After my first marriage imploded after 30+ years, I swore I’d never have anything to do with men or marriage. And then I met the right man….9 years later, it’s been the best.

  13. FeatherDuk says:

    I don’t understand why everyone is so offended by his comments. If you’ll recall, he was the “never having kids, never getting married” type of person. To me it seems like his comments are made out of a place of surprise, more than anything else. Amal is a lawyer, so what, all the things listed here about what should make people happy are materialistic things that don’t make any happy. I grew up dirt poor, in a rural area, where your virginity defines you as a woman. And I got out of there as fast as I could, got a degree, and chased the money too, I thought I’d never want to get married or have kids. Then boom, I found the right person, we never argue and we knew we were right for each other from the beginning, we’ve been together for 22 years. After we got married, I still didn’t want children. At some point I decided to have one, we had one, and my husband and I have never known such joy, such bliss. We thought we were happy before, but we didn’t know true happiness until after. Sure, you can fill your life with 80 hour weeks practicing law, I’ve done that too. That’s not really as great as you think it sounds. As a society, we’ve been bamboozled into worshipping work above family, into hating others when they find something good because we’ve been told not to expect anything good. You aren’t allowed to expect finding the right person, or get joy out of raising your children, instead we are propagandized to worship an 80 work week and material things above all else. I don’t think George is being sanctimonious. And I don’t think that his wife and children bringing him bliss should make him a target for vitriol. I think if in this country, the USA, IF employees had actual rights, if a 40 hour work week were considered full time, if we could expect healthcare, paid time off, parental leave, a living wage- for any job, regardless of how “lowly” society might think it, maybe we could all experience the joy of having a career, a spouse, and/or children. Whatever makes your heart content.

  14. amarie says:

    I don’t see how, by stating his own truth, that George is knocking or looking down on people who have chosen not to have kids. You could also say he is knocking those of us, like me, who have never met their ‘true love’ and gotten married. I am single, not yet met the right guy, and had a kid on my own in my early 40s (now he’s 15). I am happy for George, he had the single guy dream life before Amal, and he has a happy life with her now. Good for him! I don’t take his comments as any referendum on my life. A good marriage and/or children can enrich one’s life, nothing wrong with taking joy in that.

    • Watson says:

      THIS. He’s happy with his life. Not sure why people come away with this as an attack on their own lives.

    • Holland S says:

      Agree!! Celebrities aren’t there to validate everyone’s life choices. You can find other ones who are child free and like it if someone is really upset about it. I totally get what he is saying—for some people, having a family turns out to be more meaningful than achievements. Your mileage may vary.

  15. eml says:

    I don’t get the negative reaction b/c his responses are very clearly about *his* life pre-amal/pre-kids and not about unmarried/childless people in general.

    • Kristen says:

      If one of my friends said to me that her/his life was empty before they had kids, that would imply that my friendship wasn’t of any real value. Even if the comment IS just about his life, it’s still pretty bad.

      • Lorelei says:

        I agree with Kristen. Of course he wasn’t speaking about everyone and bashing unmarried people. But for someone who is single and childless NOT by choice, reading this could be very painful. He could have worded it differently.

  16. Sue Denim says:

    I don’t think he meant it as a slam on people without spouses or children, but it does hit a nerve. I can’t tell you the number of digs — some subtle, some overt, some downright contemptuous and mean — I’ve gotten from “friends” and family and colleagues over the years for not getting married or having kids. I would never ever judge anyone else’s choices, why do they feel free to judge mine?

    And also, take a peek inside a lot of these “golden” families and life ain’t always grand. Sometimes I wonder if the rage directed at me comes from their own disappointments, maybe they did it for the wrong reasons, falling for the social pressures and trying to conform or please others, or maybe they underestimated how hard it is.

    I totally get that it can be a deeply fulfilling way of life too, so no judgment at all. But I know I for one I would not have been as happy, free, able to grow (as Dolly put it) and hopefully give back in so many ways had I had a husband and children. And it takes a lot of courage to live authentically, only empty if you look at it that way. So yeah, I don’t think he’s trying to slam anyone else but it does hit a nerve…

    • Christin says:

      The person who repeatedly attempted to guilt me about choosing not to have kids, later left her own three young children. Her apparent mid-life crisis made them irrelevant.

      She was an acquaintance from high school who worked at a cosmetics counter I routinely visited. I can still hear the “don’t you want kids/don’t your parents want grandchildren” comments in my head. Later her co-workers revealed she did not want her third child, which she openly described as an “accident”. So I think *some* people do try to justify or guilt others when they have issues themselves.

      • Sue Denim says:

        wow, sad story for everyone all around, I wish people like this were self-aware enough to not hurt so many around them, inc you and how many others, and her own family. the friend who blasted me one time was also going through a hard time, is v narcissistic and I understand why from her childhood, but it ruined our friendship — we’re still in touch but I will never really let her in again, maybe if she really apologized but it’s been a few years and she hasn’t yet — where a real conversation could have strengthened it. So much better to just share across the motherhood — or any — divide the challenges and beauty of any way of life… anyway, thanks for sharing that.

  17. Bibi says:

    I agree with Georges. That’s why some people live to have that moment when they’ll have a family, because the happiness of having a family has been told ages through ages. You don’t know until you know.
    But at the same time, if you don’t know, it also allows you to be happy and fulfilled with what you have. As long as you’re happy with what you got, you got everything already.

  18. JanetDR says:

    I get what he is saying. It’s kind of hard to comment without feeling like your comment may be seen as slighting people who are unable to have children or for perfectly fine reasons don’t want to. I’ll just say once I had children (and I was ambivalent about having kids) there began what I perceive to be an extra layer of richness (not financial 😂) to my life so I relate to what he is saying in a positive way. I also believe that I would be quite fulfilled and happy if I hadn’t.

    • Twin falls says:

      My children also added another layer to my life that really was unimaginable (to me) before having them. I unfortunately didn’t pick a good co-parent/life partner and have never had the experience of being in love with/truly loved by/supported by the only other person I share these children with. I can imagine that would be amazing, and, without feeling bad about myself or resentful, I do feel like I’m missing something specific without that kind of partnership. I do also have great friends, a great dog, a job I love…

      • JanetDR says:

        That was my story too, @Twin falls. I occasionally apologize to my now grown children for my choice as he’s going to be a thorn in their side as long as he lives! I did eventually find a life partner who is wonderful, but it took a long time.

  19. Lunasf17 says:

    Good for them but it’s a lot easier to never fight with your spouse and enjoy parenthood when you never have to worry about money, cleaning and have nannies to help out! I would probably also have zero fights with husband if we had those resources!

  20. Imara219 says:

    I’m happy for George. I to married someone who I get along with and rarely fight. I count on one hand the number of major fights we’ve had during our 10 year marriage. My life is deeply enriched by my husband and child. George was speaking of his own life perception and experience. How can people be mad with how he’s evaluated his own life?

  21. Lizzie says:

    Honestly, I think he might be considering a run for political office in the next decade.
    I know he said once that he’d never run for office because of his checkered past, but I think this has been in the planning stages for a while.
    It’s the “hitch in my giddyup” quote that does it for me. That kind of folksy wisdom is exactly the kind of thing dudes say when they want to switch their public image from “ageing playboy” to “rakish grandpa”.
    I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, and I think he’d make an excellent politician. His work with the Satellite Sentinel Project shows that he actually cares, and he’s savvy enough to use his connections to get things done (plus, he HAS to know where so many bodies are buried). ;)
    He’s coming out as an approachable family man who can still get things done at 70. Bet you $20 that his next interview will mention that he didn’t mean to make it look like he was criticizing people who don’t have or can’t have kids. This is textbook for laying track for political office. Will be interesting to see what happens with him in the next 5-10 years.

  22. Jeannine Pope-Carter says:

    I have been with my husband for 20 years and childless for all of those years. I am not in the least offended by his comment. He found someone who truly opened up his life. Then children even more so with greater happiness. We hear celebrity women speak this way all the time in interviews. Quite frankly, I love hearing a man say this publicly. I hope he says it more and other men in the public eye say similar things, too.

  23. DS9 says:

    I don’t understand why people are upset about this.

    Even he was happy and content with his life before kids. He’s merely saying that now, looking back, he wasn’t nearly as happy and fulfilled as he thought.

    Idk why we can’t let people feel things lol

  24. FRED says:

    But his comments about his own life don’t take away from anyone else’s. Many people with a family wouldn’t say the same – that doesn’t change his own story. His statement wasn’t a broad condemnation of childfree people, it was a comment on his own life and situation.

  25. equality says:

    Amal got him more invested in charity also which probably made a difference in his life.

  26. Faye G says:

    I found his comments a bit condescending as well, particularly with the use of the word ‘you’:

    “…all the things that you were hoping you could get from a really good career and a dog. You realize that this is a lot more than that.”

    If he had kept his comments to ‘I’ statements it would’ve come across better. I wish parents would understand that child free people face these comments allllllll the time. Maybe they’re not meant to be put down, but that’s the way it often feels.

  27. TeeBee says:

    For what it’s worth, I didn’t want kids when I was in my early 20s. I met someone awesome and we discussed children right from the get go. He wanted to be a dad, so I thought well if I want to be with this person I will have to consider what he has told me. To be honest, I had never met someone so lovely so sharing a life and family with him was not a difficult thing to contemplate doing…

    Cut to 25 years later, we have 2 adult children. It was tough as hell. I did the bulk of child rearing while working full time. But that was how our life and work balance ended up being. But now, I couldn’t imagine life without my family. I am caring for my aging parents, almost full time now, and so happy to be there for them. I tell my kids all the time I wouldn’t expect them to do the same for me, but who knows what they will feel when I am older. But still I look forward to seeing them grow even further, and to help and support them every step of the way. Family brings a dimension to life that cannot be explained or forced upon someone. It is an experience you may have, or won’t have. I changed. It did take meeting someone that I wanted to share that journey with. That is what I took from Clooney’s interview. He met someone he wanted to share this journey with and now he can reflect and be glad he did. Perhaps he overexplained, and added unnecessary colour, but that’s what celebrity interviews do. Allows them to expand and bloviate. But I respect that he changed, even if it seemed relatively later in life. I wish them the best, as I do all the commenters here with their very personal and individual choices.

  28. Chelsea says:

    I know a lot of people dont like George and i wouldn’t call myself a fan really either but im surprised by people getting angry at him for saying this. He said he had a good career and didnt feel his life was missing anything but then he met Amal and his life started to feel so full that he felt his life before her and their kids was empty. Is that really offensive? Especially for a guy who spent years in an industry that can be vapid i dont think it’s crazy that settling down made him feel like his life was finally full. It doesn’t mean that your life cant be full without kids but this is something I’ve heard married parents say all of the time and I’ve never thought of it as sanctimonious. What is usually annoying is when they insinuate that you dont care about the future or cant be happy without kids but that doesn’t seem to be what he is saying here at all.

  29. AMJ says:

    C’mon, he’s just talking about himself, not preaching. We all can have different experiences, it’s kind of obvious that some people actually love having a family and find it to be THE thing that fulfills them. Why does that bother anyone? I understand that he’s surprised by his own discovery and wants to share, I know the feeling. I never wanted kids. I’m a physician, I do art photography, I wrote a novel (though never published). You’d think that’s very fulfilling, but to be honest it wasn’t until I’ve started a family that I felt I found my place. To me, love is way better than money, success or some strangers’ respect. I get that other people have different needs. Funny that they rarely understand that I can feel the way I feel and it’s ok. Don’t be hateful and all offended because some of us need something else than you.

  30. Jayna says:

    George in his fifties is far different than in his late thirties and forties. He was completely driven in his career and moving from TV star to movie star and grabbing the opportunities while he could and shifting also into directing and producing. No woman would ever have changed that. He chose that because it’s what he wanted. Even if he had met Amal back then, he wouldn’t have been the husband he is now to her, if they even made it that far. He is speaking as a man closing in on 60, who accomplished all he wanted on his terms, and his emotions and feelings on finding and experiencing something unexpected late in life he didn’t even know he wanted.
    Even when asked about children for years, he once stated that he took having a child very seriously, and if you are gone all the time off on movie sets, that’s not the kind of father he would want to be. I think that is also pretty responsible, showing that he took it seriously.

    What I do like about George is that unlike many male celebrities who have children and say they’ve never felt a love like that before, which is the purest form of love for sure It’s overwhelming), he always says he feels that way about Amal. Obviously, different in that it’s adult love. I’m not comparing them as the same. But I liked that he feels that way, an unconditional love for her. George also feels that way because beyond maybe being really in love with Celine, the French girl, I don’t know that he ever felt a love that felt selfless before meeting Amal and he had accomplished most of his goals in his career. I also don’t know that I would have thought seven and a half years later since they began dating that I would see him this happy. I would have predicted the bloom would be off the rose. He is a very content man in his marriage (which for many is hard to come by and does bring much happiness to a person’s life if you have it) and he has huge respect for his wife.

    George’s follow-up response to Letterman after he and Letterman had discussed their love for their children. This was three years ago, and clearly he still feels this way.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hu0g5Aefup8

  31. Penguin says:

    I’m finding that a lot of people are projecting their own issues on what clearly was a statement on this man’s own life. He is happier with his wife and kids than without and that’s his business. Not every statement needs to be quantified.

  32. Juju says:

    A wife and kids can’t sudenly give your empty self fullfillment. They provide distraction for an empty soul.

  33. Kaykay says:

    What I think he’s referring to when he says “empty” is that he was lacking deeper connections to people. All his assets and engagements might not have been meaningless per se, but clearly lacking that intimate bond he now shares with his wife and kids.
    He is now experiencing something he hadn’t experienced before, and therefore could not now he was lacking it. He was content with what he had, but now at 60 years old he has new insight.
    I know what it feels like to have nothing but shallow relations compared to deep ones, and I am sure that Hollywood is full just that.

  34. Kristen says:

    I think the defense of, “he was just talking about himself,” isn’t a defense in the way that people think it is. There are a lot of things that you can say where you’re just referencing your own experience and still have that come off as callous and a bit cruel. Like if someone said, “babies are a waste of time,” that might just be what is true for that person, but it would come off as pretty insensitive and would understandably hurt some feelings; there are for sure other ways it could be communicated differently and better.

    Using that phrase, “my life was empty before marriage/kids…” comes from and contributes to the idea that that’s what everyone should be aiming toward, and other choices are meaningless.

  35. notasugarhere says:

    ‘We’re both busy, but we’re both very involved in each other’s lives, which is nice.’

    A strange phrase to me. As if they live separate lives.

    • TD says:

      Or as if he’s referencing some norm or something he’s observed in which couples who are both busy are not usually very involved in each other’s lives? Idk, maybe things are different if you have household help and you’re not both involved in all the daily chores and work that needs to get done? Good call though. Kind of a weird comment.

    • Jayna says:

      I took it to mean that they are very interested in each other’s work, “which is nice.”

      But maybe he was just inartful in how he was describing their private life away from their professional lives.

  36. Lizzie says:

    I always thought he was really immature and if I knew him in person a little bit would go a long way. He met the right person at the right time. Glad he has a happy life.