As an international human rights lawyer (and George Clooney’s ride-or-die), Amal Clooney has ascended to Kardashian-level fame in the past few years, and she’s grown accustomed to the media circus that is now her daily life.
Whether clamoring for a shot of Clooney in one of her glorious designer trench coats or the sneakiest of peeks at her and George’s 10-month-old twins Ella and Alexander, the attention is constant. But despite the obvious annoyance of paparazzi at every turn, Clooney is in a way grateful for the disturbance.
She met her actor husband at 35 years old, a relationship she says “felt like the most natural thing in the world.” Clooney told Vogue, “Before that experience, I always hoped there could be love that was overwhelming and didn’t require any weighing or decision-making.”
“It’s the one thing in life that I think is the biggest determinant of happiness, and it’s the thing you have the least control over,” she said of finding her perfect partner and relationship. “It wasn’t obvious that it was going to happen for me. And I wasn’t willing or excited about the idea of getting married or having a family in the absence of that.”
To Amal, the invasion of privacy that’s overtaken the Clooneys’ life together is simply a caveat to her happiness. “We definitely do more things in our home to ensure privacy in a context where we can’t otherwise get it,” she admitted. “But that whole side—invasions of privacy and paparazzi, all of that—has happened because of something so happy and so important in my life.”
Tucked away at their home in Sonning-on-Thames, a stone’s throw from London’s Heathrow Airport, the Clooneys’ overseas retreat allows them to step away from the glare of Hollywood.
At home, the pair works to raise their children as free as possible from outside obligations. In their first year, mostly removed from the typical fast-paced lifestyle of their parents, Ella and Alexander are beginning to speak. “We’ve had some ‘Mamas’ and ‘Dadas,’” Amal shares, noting, “George was very careful to ensure that ‘Mama’ was the first word.”
Of course, as activists and known philanthropists, George and Amal’s life together reaches beyond the obvious public and private spheres. The pair recently donated $500,000 to the student-led March for Our Lives protest against gun violence, a cause both parties feel strongly about.
“I’ve seen lots of commentary where people have tried to say, ‘This isn’t about having too many guns or allowing semiautomatic and automatic weapons to be purchased too easily—surely this is about mental health, or about violence and movies,’ Clooney explains. “The fact is, there are violent movies all over the world, and there are mental-health issues in other countries. But this doesn’t happen in other developed countries. The difference is guns, and how widely and easily available they are.”
In other political matters, such as the #MeToo movement targeting sexual abuse and harassment, Clooney is thankful for the impact today’s uprising will have on her daughter’s life. “I think because of the brave women who have come forward to tell their stories, the future workplace will be safer for my daughter than it was for people of my generation,” she said. “We’re in a situation where a predator feels less safe and a professional woman feels more safe, and that’s where we need to be.”