George Clooney is feeling pensive as he gets older, especially amid a global pandemic that has kept him, like many others, from being with his parents and in-laws.
The Oscar winner, 59, appears on the cover of the February/March issue of AARP The Magazine and spoke candidly in a feature story about how COVID-19 has been particularly difficult for the elderly. Clooney said he has not seen his mother and father nor wife Amal’s parents in person since quarantine took effect last March.
“This is an important time for them, and it’s not fair,” he said. “My friends will talk about their kids and how they couldn’t go to prom, and I go, ‘It’s awful that they missed that. They’ll be fine. It’ll be a blip on their radar.’ People in their 80s, they’re, like, ‘You know, come on, man.’”
The “Midnight Sky” star and his wife are parents to twins Alexander and Ella, 3. He says he’s come to understand that you have to make out of life what you put into it.
“There’s no rhyme or reason for who gets to age and who doesn’t,” he told the magazine in an accompanying video. “So you should live as if you’re not going to get to. And then, if you wake up one day and you’re old, you’ve lived a really full life.
“You know, if I get hit by a bus tomorrow, there won’t be anybody doing the eulogy going, ‘Well, he didn’t drain every drop out of it.’ That makes aging, in a funny way, easier. And the fact that I now have this incredible wife and these two knuckleheads that just light up a room, all of that stuff just fills up your days and fills up your heart.”
Clooney, who will turn 60 in May, remains comfortable with his looks as he gets older.
“I’ve never worn makeup in my life,” he said. “If I have to have a black eye, I’ll put a black eye on, but I’ve never had paper around my collar. I did when I first started, ’cause I did what everybody told me I had to do. By the time I started ‘ER,’ never.”
In an age of texting and email, Clooney champions a more traditional method of communication, noting that he enjoys writing letters.
“I’m a big believer in letters,” he said. “I have letters from Paul Newman, Walter Cronkite, Gregory Peck. I have them framed. I put them in the house. If it were a text, it would feel different. Maybe that’s a generational thing, and maybe it won’t be that way 20 years from now, but for me, somebody sat down and wrote it.”
He said he and Amal have made a point of writing letters over the years.
“Every year before we had kids we wrote each other a letter,” he said.
“And now we write the kids letters and put them away and put dates on them and store them, so that when they’re of an age, they’ll have a stack of letters to know where we were at a very given moment in time and what was happening in the world and what was happening in our family and how much we love them. Even in lockdown, we’ll still write each other letters, probably, once every month or two.”
Having been through the Hollywood grind, Clooney also says it’s vital to believe in yourself in whatever you pursue.
“I think the only life lesson is to bet on yourself. And when there’s opportunities, you gotta go. In my life, I have been the recipient of a lot of luck,” he said.
“But I also believe you create opportunity for luck. You create enough opportunity and, every once in a while, you’ll hit one.”