In the aftermath of the school shooting in Parkland, FL, many have been inspired by the courage and grace of the surviving students — including George Clooney and his wife, Amal Clooney. The celebrity couple announced they will join the teens in their quest to demand safer schools next month. “Our family will be [at the March for Our Lives] on March 24 to stand side by side with this incredible generation of young people,” George said in a statement, adding they are donating $500,000 in the names of their eight-month-old twins, Ella and Alexander, to help fund the event.
While many celebrities engage in philanthropy, George, 56, and his wife of three years, Amal, 40, have embraced activism as an everyday part of their lives. In addition to their latest act of kindness, the couple is sponsoring college student Hazim Avdal, a 23-year-old Iraqi and member of the persecuted Yazidi religious minority forced to flee after his village was attacked by ISIS. “We were all in New York with George and [his parents] Nick and Nina, and Hazim spoke about his dream of one day studying in the US,” recalls Amal, a British human rights lawyer who first met Hazim at a 2016 UN ceremony. “We all had the same thought, which was, maybe there’s something we can do to help with that.”
Giving back comes naturally to Amal and George. George’s father, a longtime television journalist, insisted his kids learn the value of public service. “My father would get letters from people who had a really bad year. He’d pick one, and we’d buy presents for the kids,” George recalls. “On Christmas morning, before we could open any of our presents, we’d drive to some strangers’ home and brought their kids presents.” George took the lesson to heart. “The altruistic activism that George lives by is definitely from his parents,” a family friend confides to Closer.
George’s charitable streak found its match in Amal. When they fell in love, “I felt I met someone who I would absolutely trade my life for,” George says. “I’d never had that experience before.” Still, he nearly blew it early in their romance when he tried to dazzle her.
“I went to London to do the score of a movie at Abbey Road Studios,” he recalls. “You’ve got a 150-piece orchestra and I thought, ‘If you’re ever going to impress somebody.'” Instead, George was awed by her. “Amal left this meeting where she was trying to hold the Muslim Brotherhood to account for something — and we are just doing a dumb movie score!”
Since that time, the couple has joined forces to uplift the lives of refugees like Hazim. “I remember being so struck by his courage but also just this amazing spirit,” confides Amal. “Even after everything he lost, he spoke about a desire for justice, not revenge.” While they can’t correct all the world’s wrongs, they are using their voices to truly make a difference. “I’m able to do it because I can afford to do it,” admits George. “I feel like I hit the jackpot [in life], so you should spread some luck around.”