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George Clooney opens up about surgery, pain, and why he likes watching Chrissy Teigen’s online activity

“I was on the ground. I was really screaming. Like, really screaming.”

George Clooney appreciates a good “Clap Back.” The actor and director is aging like a fine wine and spoke candidly about his life these days in an interview with GQ. The outlet named him “Icon of the year.”

Fresh out of neck surgery with some Fentanyl in his system Clooney explained the surgery was for a disk problem. It was relatively minor but once they looked deeper they found other problems too. “It looks like arthritis, unfortunately. Which: Hey, isn’t it nice getting older?” In the rest of the interview Clooney talked about the accident that changed his life, a “pain guy” that helped him, his wife Amal Clooney , and why he loves watching Chrissy Teigan, aka “ the Queen of Clap Backs,” do what she does best.

  

Per GQ, the disk problem might have been a result of a motorcycle accident he had in Italy in 2018. It’s hard to know for certain because Clooney has been suffering from pain and physical discomfort for the last 15 years of his life.

In 2005 Clooney suffered from a horrifying spinal injury on the set of 2005’s “Syriana.” The actor was shooting a scene when someone kicked over the chair he was sitting in. Clooney tore his dura mater, which is the wrap around the spine that holds in the spinal fluid. WARNING GRAPHIC: according to GQ, “The spinal fluid was leaking out of his nose.” Clooney has said in the past that he contemplated suicide because of the around of pain he was in. The actor told the outlet he spent “three or four months really laying into painkillers.” He then decided to go to “a pain guy.”

According to the Oscar award winning actor, the “pain guy” taught him to train himself to think of pain as normal, ceasing the pain from existence. “Basically,” Clooney explained, “the idea is, you try to reset your pain threshold. Because a lot of times what happens with pain is you‘re constantly mourning for how it used to feel.” Clooney said he was “Euphoric” when he finally got it down. Unfortunately, Clooney was injured again in the motorcycle accident a year and a half ago when he was on his way to the set of “Catch-22” in Sardinia.

Clooney hit a car while riding 75 miles an hour on his motorcycle. “He literally turned directly in front of me,” Clooney said. Clooney watched CCTV footage of the accident, and explained, “I launched. I go head over heels. But I landed on my hands and knees. If you did it 100 times, maybe once you land on your hands and knees, and any other version you land, you‘re toast. It knocked me out of my shoes.” In addition to flying out of his shoes, he crushed the guy’s windshield with his helmet. “When I hit the ground,” Clooney said, “my mouth—I thought all my teeth were broken out. But it was glass from the windshield.” The actor also thought he was paralyzed due to the nature of the accident and laid there “waiting for the switch to turn off.” Miraculously, it didn’t.

The Newseum Hosts a Screening of "Good Night, And Good Luck"©GettyImages
George Clooney

Clooney laid there screaming and his friend Grant Heslov who was riding with him, yelled for everyone to get an ambulance. Clooney recalled, “I was on the ground. I was really screaming. Like, really screaming. And Grant came back, and he was screaming at everybody to get an ambulance, and I remember everybody got out of their cars, they stopped in the middle of the street, and all these people came and stood over me and just pulled out their phones and started taking video.” Heslov said he thought Clooney was dead. He told the outlet, “While we’re waiting for the ambulance, I’m literally holding his head in my lap, saying, ‘It’s okay, it’s going to be fine. Meanwhile there are people taking pictures.” Clooney recalled, “It’s a funny thing. I’m not a cynical guy, and I really tend to look at life and try to find the good in everything. But I’ll never forget the moment that what I thought might be my last few moments was for everyone else a piece of entertainment.”

His wife Amal, has since forbidden him to ride a motorcycle ever again. Which he said he accepted. Clooney gushed about badass wife several times in the interview. “I was like, ‘I‘m never getting married. I’m not gonna have kids. I’m gonna work, I’ve got great friends, my life is full, I’m doing well. And I didn’t know how un-full it was until I met Amal. And then everything changed. And I was like, ‘Oh, actually, this has been a huge empty space.’ ”

"Catch 22" UK Premiere - Arrivals©GettyImages
George and Amal Clooney

Per GQ, Clooney has always written letters to get his feelings out. “I actually have these stacks of letters and things that my assistant calls George Versus the World,” he explained. Clooney said he had just recently responded to someone in Saudi Arabia who was asking for permission to edit “The Monuments Men” for a screening and they wanted to cut out some of the explicit languages. Clooney was fine with that aspect but explained, “but then at the bottom it said, ‘and we want to blur out the Star of David in these three shots.’ And I wrote a really scathing letter two days ago where I just said, you know, ‘I‘ve been doing this a long time, and no one in my life has ever asked me to blur out particularly a Star of David in a movie that’s about the stealing of art and then the mass murder of Jews.’ And I just said, ‘So the answer is: No, you can’t have the film, and no, we won’t be making any of these cuts, and go f*** yourself.’”

Despite writing angry letters when he needs to, the actor said he enjoys watching other people fight these days. Clooney referenced one of the best competitors in the game, Teigan. “I have much more fun watching Chrissy Teigen,” Clooney said. “Somebody steps into her world and you go, ‘Oh, I wouldn’t do that, dude.’ It’s so much fun. Like somebody who thinks they’re really smart, and you just go, ‘Ugh, dude. You brought a knife to a gunfight.’”

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