It pays to be George Clooney‘s friend. Literally.
In 2013, Clooney was 52, single, without children and about to appear in the space thriller “Gravity” when he came up with a huge way to thank his 14 closest friends for their support through the years: A gift of $1 million each.
“I thought, ‘what I do have are these guys who’ve all, over a period of 35 years, helped me in one way or another,'” Clooney said in an interview with GQ. “I’ve slept on their couches when I was broke. They loaned me money when I was broke. They helped me when I needed help over the years. And I’ve helped them over the years. We’re all good friends. And I thought, you know, without them I don’t have any of this. And we’re all really close, and I just thought basically if I get hit by a bus, they’re all in the will.”
He added: “So why the (expletive) am I waiting to get hit by a bus?”
The actor pulled a move reminiscent of his “Ocean’s” franchise – he rented an old van that read “Florist,” loaded up 14 Tumi bags each with a million dollars in cash (“which isn’t as much as you think it is, weight-wise”) and invited his friends over.
“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 recalled. “And I said, ‘How do you repay people like that?’ And I said, ‘Oh, well: How about a million bucks?'”
Seven years later, Clooney is married to human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, the father to 3-year-old twins Ella and Alexander and has even more dollar signs to his name, thanks mostly to a billion dollar deal Clooney and his business partners signed to sell their tequila company in 2017. Clooney still maintains the $14 million gift was the right move.
“You know, it’s funny,” Clooney said. “I remember talking to one really rich asshole who I ran into in a hotel in Vegas—certainly a lot richer than I am. And I remember the story about the cash had come out, and he was like, ‘Why would you do that?’ “
He concluded: “And I was like, ‘Why wouldn’t you do that, you schmuck?’ “