The Oscar-winning actor and his human-rights lawyer wife of two years, Amal, announced on Tuesday that they were the proud new parents of twins, Ella and Alexander.
Clooney has donned many hats in his life, spending time as an actor, director, producer and activist, but fatherhood has always seemed far away. Was it the early onset salt-and-pepper hair? The coterie of models that have found themselves on his arm for fleeting moments over the years? The insistence by tabloids and fellow co-stars that it was time for him to settle down?
Maybe, or perhaps it was the simple fact that Clooney himself said again and again that he would not reproduce. In several interviews. Many, many times. For many, many years.
A first-time father at 56, Clooney was often asked throughout his career if the single life was his ultimate future. But after proposing marriage to Amal in April 2014, and marrying her that September (as well as sharing wedding photos with People in the US and Hello magazine in the UK), it seemed like anything was possible for the man who once said, “I don’t see myself ever having having kids”.
But it was a long road to get there. “I don’t have that gene that people have to replicate,” he said to People in 2006.
When Esquire asked him why he wasn’t married with kids, he replied: “I haven’t had aspirations in that way, ever.” And as for people who thought it was weird that a man in his 50s was single and childless? “What do you do? Should I go, ‘I got to get me some kids right now!’ and rush out and impregnate someone?”
Clooney seemed to express frustration when asked how he could ever possibly relate to the fathers he occasionally portrays on-screen. His answer: “Well, I’m also not running for president, but I played that role in Ides of March. I wasn’t an actual lawyer when I did Michael Clayton, and I don’t fire people for a living like I did in Up in the Air.”
“I keep saying I’ll never get married again or have children, but people just don’t want to believe me,” Clooney told the Daily Express just three months before popping the question to his now-wife.
Of course, celebrities are people, too, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone that a man might change his mind around the mid-century mark. And Clooney is certainly not alone in choosing to wait to later in life to welcome a child into the family: Comedian Steve Martin became a father at age 67 in 2012; Elton John was 63 when he had a baby via a surrogate in 2010; and Chris Noth was 53 when he welcomed his only child in 2008.
Perhaps it’s the fact that Clooney always seemed so delightfully and devilishly Clooney-ish that made his bachelordom seem like the only constant in our ever-changing pop culture. But we can rest easy knowing that despite some hesitation on his views of family, his sense of humour has remained steady.
“Ella, Alexander and Amal are all healthy, happy and doing fine,” the statement announcing the birth of his children read. “George is sedated and should recover in a few days.”