George Clooney’s Ocean days may be behind him, but the actor has a real-life story that rivals any heist: how he got his hands on the $14 million cash he gave to 14 friends in 2013. Before he was the supportive husband to a world-class barrister, Amal Clooney, the ER actor was an “aging” single guy with a disposable income. And following the success of Gravity, for which he earned a percentage of the profits, he had a lot disposable income. So, he decided to give some to his best buddies, like Rande Gerber, his Casamigos partner. Gerber first shared the wild story in 2017 and Clooney’s reps confirmed it shortly after. “We’re all good friends,” he explained in a new GQ profile. “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. So why the fuck am I waiting to get hit by a bus?” Cue the heist-preparation montage.
Clooney (presumably) looked in the Rich People Yellow Pages and found a place in downtown L.A. where “they have giant pallets of cash.” Then, he got a beat-up van that said “Florist” on it, drove down to the vault, and made the strange withdrawal. “And we brought it up, and I bought 14 Tumi bags, and then I packed in a million bucks cash, which isn’t as much as you think it is, weight-wise, into these Tumi bags,” he said, as if we have any frame of reference. The next day, he invited his pals over (a luxury in itself these days). “And 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,” he remembered. “And I said, ‘How do you repay people like that?’ And I said, ‘Oh, well: How about a million bucks?’” The larger-than-life gesture is Clooney’s attempt at staying down to earth. “I remember talking to one really rich asshole who I ran into in a hotel in Vegas — certainly a lot richer than I am,” he added. “And I remember the story about the cash had come out, and he was like, ‘Why would you do that?’ And I was like, ‘Why wouldn’t you do that, you schmuck?’”
Clooney tries to look at his life as a celebrity — the glamour and the money and the hardships — with levity. One incident that shifted his perspective was the motorcycle accident he got into in July 2018 while riding to set in Sardinia, Italy, with his producing partner Grant Heslov. “It’s a funny thing,” he told GQ. “I’m not a cynical guy, and I really tend to look at life and try to find the good in everything. But I’ll never forget the moment that what I thought might be my last few moments was for everyone else a piece of entertainment.” Even in that, however, he’s able to find some laughter. He does his best impression of the starstruck Italians while they were taking photos of his splayed-out body: “They were like: A-George Clooney!”