Celebrities & Pop Culture

George Clooney Once Gave His Closest Friends $1 Million Each

What a great guy. We could use a friend like George.

George Clooney — you’ve heard of him, right? — wasn’t always a famous actor. And apparently, he had help from 14 of his closest friends along the road to success. In a recent interview on MSNBC’s “Headliners,” one of those friends, Rande Gerber, said that Clooney paid the friends back for all of their support in a major way. The actor gifted each of his 14 friends with $1 million, according to Gerber.

Clooney invited the friends over for dinner on Sept. 27, 2013. When they came over, they found 14 black suitcases in front of each of their chairs. They sat down, and Clooney began to give a little speech.

According to Gerber, Clooney said, “Listen, I want you guys to know how much you’ve meant to me and how much you mean in my life. I came to L.A., I slept on your couch. I’m so fortunate in my life to have all of you and I couldn’t be where I am today without all of you.” He continued, “So, I want you all to open your suitcases.”

When the friends opened their luggage, they each found $1 million in $20 bills. The reaction? “Shock,” Gerber recalled.

Gerber, who happens to be married to Cindy Crawford and is already independently wealthy, even tried to give the money back. When he did, Clooney addressed the room, “I’m just going to make one announcement. If Rande doesn’t take the million dollars, nobody gets it.” So, Clooney really gave him no choice! Gerber said he wound up donating his money to charity.

George Clooney Rande Gerber photo
Getty Images | Eamonn M. McCormack

Clooney became famous from his first acting gig in 1992 as Dr. Doug Ross on “ER.” Since then he’s built an empire for himself, including his Casamigos tequila brand with Gerber which was recently sold to a European beverage company for $1 billion. The actor’s net worth now is $500 million, according to Bankrate.

Gerber pointed out that Clooney’s generosity certainly paid off for him, noting that the went on to marry his wife, human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin, on Sept. 27, 2014 — just a year after his good deed.

“That’s good karma right there,” Gerber noted.

George Clooney Amal photo
Getty Images | Clemens Bilan

The couple went on to have twins in June of 2017. The good fortune just keeps coming, and so does the generosity — Clooney and his wife reportedly passed out noise-cancelling headphones to passengers on a flight to London to apologize in advance if their six-month-old twins cried on board. How thoughtful!

So, it’s official, and we’ll use Clooney as proof. Hard work (with some support from friends) and good deeds pay off!