Oh to be close friends with George Clooney — a star of certain means who isn’t afraid to show his appreciation in a major way.
During a recent chat on MSNBC’s Headliners show, Clooney’s longtime pal Rande Gerber casually revealed that in 2013, the Suburbicon director gifted his closest friends one million dollars. Each! And paid their taxes for the year.
“There’s a group of guys we call ‘The Boys,'” explained Gerber. “George had called me and ‘The Boys’ and said, ‘Hey, mark September 27th, 2013, on your calendar. Everyone’s going to come to my house for dinner.’
Gerber said that when Clooney’s ‘Boys’ arrived at the dinner, there were black designer luggage bags on the table at each place setting.
“George begins to say, ‘Listen, I want you guys to know how much you’ve meant to me and how much you mean to me in my life,” recalled the restauranteur. “I came to L.A., I slept on your couch. I’m so fortunate in my life to have all of you and I couldn’t be where I am today without all of you. So, it was really important to me that while we’re still all here together, that I give back. So I want you all to open your suitcases.'”
“We open it up, and it’s a million dollars in $20 bills,” Gerber continued. “Every one of us – 14 of us – got a million dollars. Every single one of us. We’re in shock. Like, what is this? He goes, ‘I know we’ve all been through some hard times, some of you are still going through it. You don’t have to worry about your kids, you don’t have to worry about, you know, school, you don’t have to worry about paying your mortgage.'”
Gerber said that some of the men gathered were working paycheck to paycheck.
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“One was working at a bar in Texas at the airport, trying just to support his family,” he said. “Rides a bicycle to work every day. I mean these are guys that took care of George and now he’s giving it all back. And George said, ‘Not only that, I have paid everyone’s taxes so this million dollars is yours.'”
It was then that Gerber, who was part-owner of Clooney’s Casamigos Tequila company (which sold for $1 billion earlier this year), balked at accepting the money since he himself is independently wealthy.
“I pull him aside and said, ‘I absolutely am not taking this million dollars,'” he recalled. “Immediately George goes, ‘I’m just going to make one announcement. If Rande doesn’t take the million dollars, nobody gets it.’
Gerber said he took the money, but donated it all to charity.
He added: “This is who George is. That was September 27th, 2013. Now September 27th, 2014, he marries Amal. Now that’s good karma right there.”