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Mae Whitman on filming with George Clooney: 'He really took me under his wing'

The actors starred together in the 1996 film "One Fine Day."
1996 Mae Whitman, George Clooney, Alex D. Linz, and Michelle Pfeiffer stars in the new movie "One Fi
A scene from the 1996 film 'One Fine Day.' Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Mae Whitman was lucky to grow up with one of Hollywood's most famous faces as a close friend and mentor.

The actor, 32, first met George Clooney when she was only 8 years old, but the pair instantly bonded on the set of the 1996 film "One Fine Day."

In honor of the romantic comedy's 25th anniversary, Whitman sat down with People to discuss the film, her experiences on set and her friendship with Clooney.

"One Fine Day was such a cornerstone for me, of who I am," she said. "Especially working with George, we became so genuinely close, in a way that is funny. He's just somebody that my soul really connected with."

Whitman played Clooney's daughter in the film, and she said she felt totally comfortable filming alongside the actor.

"I think we just had something that just felt natural and normal, and we had the same sense of humor," she said. "And he really took me under his wing, and he took me everywhere, all around New York. And for many, many years after I would go to his house and I would get chased by his pig Max across the yard!"

Whitman, who started her career at the tender age of 2, said Clooney was always willing to support her whenever she had to sell something like wrapping paper for a school fundraiser.

"I remember George would always wait until the very last day, like the deadline," she said. "And then he'd be like, 'Okay, what's the highest kid have?' And then he would quadruple it. So I would walk into class and go, 'George Clooney, he wants 10,000 wrapping papers.' Those are the memories I have. I felt so supported and I felt loved."

The former co-stars maintained their friendship for quite some time and Whitman took a moment to reflect on the role Clooney played in her life.

"(George) and I stayed close for many, many years," she said. "I think one of the last times I saw him I was with an ex-boyfriend at a movie theater. I hadn't seen him in a while, and I went up and I was like, 'George, oh my God!' And he immediately bee-lined past me and grabbed the guy I was dating at the time, and was like, 'If you ever hurt her, I will hunt you down.' I feel like we will always have that connection."