For decades George Clooney was the perpetual bachelor, charming audiences young and old on the big screen and jet-setting around the world. But now the 59-year-old has a new set of priorities—two rambunctious preschoolers that he can’t stop gushing about.
George and his wife, uber-accomplished human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin Clooney, are usually pretty tight-lipped about their home life, especially twins Ella and Alexander. But clearly George couldn’t hold back while on the Smartless podcast this week.
“They’re three-and-a-half, they’re monsters,” he says off the bat, and any parent of a preschooler can more than relate. In fact, last month he told W that he’s realized just how messy these pint-sized terrors can be. “I’ll tell you what I’ve taken on as a hobby: two or three loads of laundry a day, dishes all day long, because these kids are slobs.”
But they’re beautiful, irresistible slobs, right? And they’ve done a number on their dad, who wasn’t so sure fatherhood was in the cards for him.
“There is a funny thing that happens, and I’m late to the game. I’m like Tony Randall, having children at 59 and I’ve got 3-year-olds, but it’s what everyone else knows, which is that all the things that seemed important aren’t,” he said about how much his priorities have changed. “And it’s hard to imagine them not being important before the kids showed up, or before my wife showed up, quite honestly.”
Putting things in perspective
George explained that he spent years focussing on his career, not realizing that there are far more important things in life.
“All these things are so important at the time, and then someone like Amal walks into your life and these kids show up magically and everything changes and all of a sudden none of that really matters, you look back and you’re like god it was such a mad race to something that … comes and goes very quickly but you go home and there’s these knuckleheads there and it changes everything.”
It doesn’t take long for kids to make you reconsider your priorities, that’s for sure, even if it took George a little longer to want his own. “I don’t think anyone is ever going to say at the end of the day ‘God, I wish we’d done two more interesting films’ rather than ‘God, I’m really glad I spent this time with my kids or I did this with my kids.’”
He admits it took him a long time to learn this lesson, and that success is fleeting, and what you haven in the end is what’s at home. “Shit goes away, things change, the rules change. But if you have this core, this family, these people that matter to you, then you can handle anything.”
From poop to pranks
This isn’t to say that it wasn’t an adjustment, as we well know. Co-host Jason Bateman brought up the challenges of the first year and how the fun really starts after that.
“The first 12 months the guy has literally no business, right? They don’t care about you at all, they’re like ‘mom’ for everything—for food, for everything, so all you’re really doing is cleaning up a lot of shit and feeling sort of useless. And yes, then the funs starts.”
We’re not sure we completely agree here (bottles exist…), but there are definitely some feelings of helplessness that come with not being the primary caregiver.
And now, George is learning the perks of preschoolers, passing down his passion for pranking (remember those stories about how he and Brad Pitt would always mess with each other on set?).
“My son now, every mistake he makes as a child is in trying to be funny,” he said. “The other day he literally did the peanut butter joke where he puts it on his shoe and he stands there and he starts going, “papa papa,” and I go, ‘yah,’ and he goes, ‘you smell poopoo’ and I’m like, “no,” and I look down and he looks down at his shoe and he picks up the peanut butter off of his shoe with his finger and then he eats it. And he goes, “uuugghh,” and I was like I love that, I was so proud.”