George Clooney explains why he gave his best friends $1 million each
Being a major celebrity seems like it would be a serious pain most of the time. But George Clooney always manages to make it look like the greatest gig in the world. The A-list Hollywood icon has done it once again by confirming a long-told legend about a gift he once gave to some of his closest friends.
In 2017, Rande Gerber, one of the actor’s lucky pals, made headlines by claiming that Clooney had given him and 13 others some cash as a gift. We’re not talking about enough to “get yourself something nice,” we’re talking enough to change your entire life.
Gerber claimed Clooney gave each of them a briefcase full of $1 million in cash on Sept. 27, 2013, exactly one year before he married his wife, Amal, and started a family.
It sounds insane, right? Like a plot out of one of his movies. But the whole story is even crazier and Clooney himself confirmed it for the first time since Gerber first let the world in on this gift to end all gifts, which was given in September 2013.
“I was a single guy. All of us were aging. I was 52 or something and most of my friends are older than me,” Clooney told GQ in a gushing profile from 2020. “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— am I waiting to get hit by a bus?”
The filmmaker had obviously built up a great career by that point — with the bank account to match — and wanted to spread his wealth to the friends he felt had made his success possible.
“What I do have are these guys who’ve all, over a period of 35 years, helped me in one way or another,” Clooney told the magazine. “I’ve slept on their couches when I was broke. They loaned me money when I was broke. And I thought, you know, without them I don’t have any of this.”
So, as anyone would naturally do, he arranged for bags to be filled with $1 million in cash each (which, Clooney said, “isn’t as much as you think it is, weight-wise”) and escorted by a pair of security guards for delivery. The bags were taken from an undisclosed location in Los Angeles to his house in a beat-up van marked “Florist.”
The next day, Clooney had all 14 members of the inner circle meet at his house and presented them with their gifts — which he had already, of course, paid the taxes for — after telling them all about his appreciation for their help in getting him to where he was in life.
When he recounted the story, Gerber — who tried (and failed) to turn the gift down, as he’s a successful entrepreneur in his own right — said the recipients were all “shocked” when they opened their bags.
“One [of the friends] was working at a bar in Texas at the airport, trying just to support his family. Rides a bicycle to work every day,” Gerber told MSNBC in 2017. “I mean, these are the guys that took care of George, and now he’s giving it all back.”