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George Clooney admits that fatherhood is scary: 'I hope I don't screw this up'

by Randee Dawn / / Source: TODAY

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For years we all thought we knew George Clooney as a handsome throwback kind of Hollywood star, funny and serious, thoughtful and political. Also: unlikely to ever marry (again) and probably never going to settle down into the dad life.

Shows what we knew! In 2014 Clooney married the love of his life, pre-eminent human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin, and earlier this year he became a dad at 56 for the first and second time with twins Alexander and Ella. (Alamuddin, who now goes by Clooney, is 39.)

The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter with George Clooney, Matt Damon and Julianne Moore.The Hollywood Reporter

That's a big sea change, and as he tells The Hollywood Reporter in an exclusive new cover story, he's had to figure out how to chart a whole new course. For one thing, the role of "dad" is still something that he finds both emotional and scary.

"All of those things," he admitted in the article. "The first thing you think is, 'I hope I don't screw this up.' ... You are really responsible for two kids."

The article covers a wide range of topics, from his friendship with former President Barack Obama (they text!) to his work in Africa and new film "Suburbicon," which he directed and co-wrote. But he also speaks about the roller coaster about finding the love of his life, asking her to marry him and then expanding his family.

Suburbicon Premiere - 74th Venice Film Festival
Restless guy Clooney at the Venice Film Festival on September 2.Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

As it turns out, his directing experience helped when it came to asking Alamuddin to marry him. They began dating in 2013 and had their first date at London's Abbey Road studios, where he was overseeing the score for his then-upcoming film "Monuments Men."

By February 2014 he was already considering marrying her, and on April 28 he popped the question in well-orchestrated style: he made them a pasta dinner, and over Champagne he asked her to get a lighter for the candles from a nearby drawer. "She reached back and pulled out a ring," he recalled in the article. "I did all the stuff, got down on my knee and did all the things you're supposed to do."

Suburbicon Premiere - 74th Venice Film Festival
Clooney and Amal Alamuddin Clooney on the red carpet at the "Suburbicon" screening at the 74th Venice Film Festival on September 2.Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

He even played some Rosemary Clooney songs (the late singer was his aunt) in the moment. But Alamuddin was so shocked she couldn't answer right away. "It was 20 minutes of me on my knee, waiting for her to say yes," he said.

The couple wed in Venice in September 2014, but it wasn't until they were formally united that they really thought about children. "It had never been part of my DNA," said Clooney about being a father. But after ward, "Amal and I were talking and we just felt we'd gotten very lucky, both of us, and we should share whatever good luck we've got."

She became pregnant without fertility drugs relatively quickly, and the couple learned they were expecting twins at an ultrasound in London. "We just sat there, staring at that piece of paper they give you," he said. "But I'm a very good diaper guy, which I didn't know I would be."

We never had any doubts: Clooney lends all of his roles, real life and in the movies, an effortless quality. Though in the article he expressed the feeling that he's past leading man roles ("Nobody wants to see me kiss the girl") in film, that doesn't mean he is exactly retiring any time soon.

"I am always restless," he said. "II get hit by a bus, I want everybody to say, 'Well, you jammed a whole lot in.' The worst thing you can do in life is be satisfied with where you are."

Follow Randee Dawn on Twitter.

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