Patrick McMullan Archives

Julianna Margulies on why she and George Clooney never got romantically involved while filming ‘ER’

“Thank God nothing ever happened”

Julianna Margulies is glad that she and her former ER costar George Clooney never brought their on-screen romance into real life.

The actress was on an episode of the Armchair Podcast this week, where she talked to hosts Dax Shepard and Monica Padman about the nature of her relationship with Clooney.

While both of the ER stars appeared to have a crush on one another, neither of them acted on it off-camera. During the podcast, Margulies admitted it may have been fun to have a fling, but she “would have wanted him to show up.”

To this day, the former castmates remain dear friends, and she credits that restraint for their ongoing healthy friendship.

“We always joke that thank God nothing ever happened because now we can remain friends for the rest of our lives,” she told the hosts. “As he used to say, ‘You don’t s**t where you eat.’ What he meant by that was the famous story about ‘Moonlighting’ with Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd.

“They had sex on the pilot. And then the show got picked up — and then they hated each other,” she continued. “Or David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson [on ‘X-Files’]. The same thing happened. And then they hate each other and you’re stuck on a show for seven years together. That’s agony. Life’s too short.”

Not only did that decision benefit their friendship, but Margulies actually thinks their on-screen chemistry benefited from their lack of real-life romance.

“You just want to have the crush keep going and going. And that’s what worked,” she explained. “And also, he’s just a super-awesome human being, and I love him.”

Just last month, Julianna revealed why she chose to end her run on ER back in 2000, even after being offered $27 million to stay on the show for two more seasons.


“I felt very alone because I had already planned what I was going to do before they had offered me that money. I had my life planned,” the actress told Oprah Winfrey during an appearance on her discovery+ series, Super Soul. “I was going back to New York to go and do this play and then all this money came up. Everyone I asked said, ‘You’d be crazy [not to]. Take the money, take the money.’

“I had heard a friend got some spiritual books and I had been studying some Buddhism, so I went [to the bookstore],” she said “And I ran my finger down a shelf and I picked out a book, Awakening the Buddha Within. I brought it home and I said nothing.

She continued, “I walked into my bedroom, I opened the book, I closed my eyes and I [pointed to a line in the book]. And I opened my eyes and the line was, ‘I knew I wanted to learn more, not earn more.’

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