Apple, Blue, Briar, Moon Unit. In Hollywood, the children of celebrities often have unique names, but George Clooney and his wife, Amal Clooney, named their twins Ella and Alexander for a simple and important reason: to make them more normal.
Speaking to AARP The Magazine, Clooney said, “I didn’t want, like, weird-ass names for our kids. They’re already going to have enough trouble. It’s hard being the son of somebody famous and successful.” Though generally considered one of the funniest guys in Hollywood, Clooney wasn’t making a joke about privilege. He was quite serious: Fame is difficult. He continued, “It’s hard being the son of somebody famous and successful. Paul Newman’s son killed himself. Gregory Peck’s son killed himself. Bing Crosby had two sons kill themselves. I have an advantage because I’m so much older that by the time my son would feel competitive, I’ll literally be gumming bread.”
As Clooney turns 60 this year, his three-year-old son and daughter will likely be spared much of the scrutiny that’s usually part of the Hollywood hype machine. The Clooney parents aren’t on social media, so if anyone has anything to say about their parenting, well, they can keep it to themselves. “I’m intimidated by anything on the internet. Like, if I push a button and something goes wrong, I panic. I’m a Luddite when it comes to that,” the Midnight Sky star admitted.
It seems Clooney just prefers to do things the old-fashioned way. He gave his kids classic names, and he even writes letters by hand, to his friends and to his own wife. “I’ll write a letter and slip it on her desk, or she’ll write a letter and leave it under the pillow. I’m a big believer in letters,” he said.
Still, not everything is oh-so-serious at George Clooney’s house. He’s keeping his pranking tradition alive and passing it on to his son. His latest goof? “I taught Alexander to take a piece of banana, chew it up and then spit it into a napkin,” he said. “Then stand next to his mom, pretend to blow his nose into it, and look down until Mama looks at it. Then eat it. It’s just outrageously fun.”