Few people can be likened to a fine wine that gets better with age, but for George Clooney, such a label seems fitting. This is, of course, a man who seemingly popularised the phrase “silver fox”, someone who men turn to for inspiration on fashion and grooming, and who women the world over have long admired. But for a star who we have quite literally grown up with, it’s hard to think of Clooney in terms of age. Like most icons, Clooney seems immortal, destined to be forever remembered in whatever role of his came to be your favourite. To hear that he’s since celebrated his 60th birthday is a jolt to the system: the world doesn’t wait for your favourite stars. Time marches on and yes, even Hollywood’s heartthrobs age.
In an interview with The Sunday Times, the actor got candid about ageing. To celebrate the milestone event, he and his wife Amal, 43, held an intimate, “emotional” party with friends in California that also served to shed new light on his future.
“I said to Amal, ‘Knock on wood, I’m health,’” said Clooney. Father to now four-year-old twins Ella and Alexander, Clooney has never been more active as he has a father. But in entering this new stage of his life, it’s also seen the actor reassess his goals and priorities, and understand the importance of health. “I still play basketball with the younger gang. I feel good. But in 20 years I’m 80 – and 80 is a real number,” he adds.
But where some ages seem to jump off the calendar and fill us with existential dread – ages like 25, and then the mid-life crisis at 50 – Clooney isn’t all that worried. “I always say to my dad, ‘I’m middle-aged.’ And he goes, ‘You know a lot of 120-year-olds?’” Clooney added, “[Turning] 70 will be more of a shot to the throat…I’m telling you, 70 will f**k me up.”
“I’m not a particularly religious guy, so I have to be sceptical about an afterlife. But as you get older, you start thinking, ‘Well, wait a minute.’ It’s very hard for me to say, ‘Once you’re finished with this chassis that we’re in, you’re just done,’” said Clooney. “My version of it is that you’re taking that one one-hundredth of a pound of energy that disappears when you die and you’re jamming it right into the hearts of all the other people you’ve been close to.”
For now though, Clooney has enough on his plate to keep him occupied. Focused on his children and being present, both as a father and husband, he admits that he hasn’t been happier than he is at this point in time. “I just look at them thinking I couldn’t be happier, and I couldn’t be more surprised at how happy I am,” he told the podcast WTF with Marc Maron. “The hard part is being 60 and just the sheer running around of it.”
He might not be exactly thrilled to be ageing – after all, he’s only human – but Clooney still has a good attitude around the whole thing.