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George Clooney reveals he once turned down a $35 million paycheck

Clooney cited his wife, Amal Clooney, as a source of reason when making the decision.
/ Source: TODAY

George Clooney knows when to say no, especially when his morals kick in.

During a recent interview with The Guardian, the Hollywood star confided in the interviewer about a multi-million dollar payday he turned down in the past. After being asked if he was content with the fortune he’s built from his career as an actor and entrepreneur, Clooney, 60, admitted that he was, which unlocked a freedom to turn down gigs when necessary.

“I was offered $35 million for one day’s work for an airline commercial, but I talked to Amal about it and we decided it’s not worth it,” he explained. “It was (associated with) a country that, although it’s an ally, is questionable at times, and so I thought: ‘Well, if it takes a minute’s sleep away from me, it’s not worth it.’”

Clooney was referring to his wife, Amal Clooney, 43, a human right’s lawyer. The couple tied the knot in Venice, Italy in 2014 and have two children together: twins Alexander and Ella, 4.

Amal Clooney and George Clooney.Kevin Mazur / Getty Images for The Met Museum

The “Ocean’s Eleven” star is no stranger to standing up for his beliefs and making public statements as such. In recent years, he’s made multiple passionate pleas to tabloids to not post photos of the children of celebrities, including those of his own twins.

In 2019, Clooney called for a boycott of nine luxury hotels run by the Sultan of Brunei due to the harsh laws set to be imposed, including deadly laws to criminalize the LGBTQ community. In 2018 following the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, he penned a heartfelt letter to students that showed his pride in their activism and offered his support for their work in promoting school safety and gun control

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Later in his interview with The Guardian, Clooney appeared to reveal another inspiration in his life and reason for his integrity beyond his wife: his father. Clooney's father, Nick, is a news anchor well known for his journalistic integrity.

“Both my parents are really respected where we’re from and I wouldn’t want to do anything to embarrass them,” he explained. “Also, my dad made one rule for me and that was: ‘I don’t care what you do in life, but challenge people with greater power than you and defend those with less power.’”

Clooney said that he’s always “liked a good fight,” though he acknowledged the times he’s been teased and mocked by TV hosts for his activism and beliefs.

“But I would be so ashamed if, for instance, in this last Trump regime, I hadn’t been on the record of being against some of the horrible things he’d done,” he said. “My kids would be like: ‘So, they were putting kids in cages and you didn’t say anything?’ The blowback is nowhere near as bad as the shame I’d feel.”