George Clooney was such a great example of successful single living. Although he’s left our singular ranks, I can’t help but hope that this one lasts.
I recently put a small TV in my kitchen. It offers a distraction while cooking dinner and feeding the pets. A couple of Sundays ago, when I was loading the dishwasher, it was tuned to The Golden Globes. I stopped everything when it was time for George Clooney to receive his Cecil B. DeMille Award and the camera panned to the former Singular magazine “poster boy for successful single living” as he sat next to his queenly wife, Amal Alamuddin.
Search the archives of Singular and you’ll find plenty of articles that mention George Clooney. He had tried marriage in 1989 and was divorced three years later, resolute that marriage was not for him. He didn’t put marriage down. It was fine for others, it just wasn’t something he wanted for himself.
Both Nicole Kidman and Michelle Pfeiffer wagered $10,000 with Clooney that he’d be married by the time he turned 40, making him $20,000 richer. “If anyone wants to make the same bet for when I’m 50, get in touch,” he said. Still, people were so sure it would happen. Who would bag the world’s most eligible bachelor? He was continually hounded by media speculation about whether his latest girlfriend — be it waitress Celine Balitran, Italian model Elisabetta Canalis or TV personality Stacy Keibler — would be the one to change his mind.
Unlike Leonardo DiCaprio, Clooney showed us he wasn’t a frivolous playboy; he had relationships that lasted for years. He disproved the stereotype that single people can’t sustain long-term relationships. When those relationships eventually ended, we conjectured it was because the women tired of waiting for him to pop the question. When he didn’t offer a ring and a date, they moved on, like Stacy Keibler, who married within a year of breaking up with Clooney and had a baby shortly after that.
Then, with Amal Alamuddin, everything changed. At 53, Clooney reversed his position on marriage and tied the knot, surprising me and eliciting a collective global “I told you so” from the likes of Barbara Walters to the clerk at the corner 7-Eleven store. They’d waited decades to crow about it, and every tabloid hooted that Clooney had finally done the right thing and settled down.
As for me, I was skeptical until I watched him make his speech at The Golden Globes that night. I watched closely as he focused lovingly on Amal and she gazed back with adoring eyes. Seriously, Bambi couldn’t have proffered more bashful eye-batting sweetness.
“I’ve had a pretty good year myself,” he said. “Listen: It’s a humbling thing when you find someone to love — even better when you’ve been waiting your whole life. And when your whole life is 53 years, Amal, whatever alchemy it is that brought us together, I couldn’t be more proud to be your husband.”
I was riveted. Apparently this woman really is the one. Even if it takes ending a marriage, other romances and accepting that being single is a very, very fine thing indeed, George Clooney has determined that it’s also just as fine to be married — when you take the time and have the maturity and self-awareness to create a partnership not out of fear, but out of strength, knowing that together you will both be better individuals.
That’s far different from getting married because you’re afraid of being alone, because of pressure from family, friends or your church — or even because you want to have your “special day” when you can pretend to be a princess and impress your girlfriends with your wedding dress.
I didn’t see that in Amal or George. It genuinely appeared they married for the right reasons. That’s the kind of love story that’s hard to resist. Marriage, as an expression of commitment to a lifelong partnership, is a very fine thing indeed when it’s done from a position of strength, and not when it’s motivated by selfishness or fear of being single. Now, let’s hope they really do pull it off. If they do, maybe we really can believe in happily ever after.
Kim Calvert is the editor of Singular magazine and the founder of the SingularCity social networking community. An outspoken champion of people who are living their lives as a “me” instead of a “we,” Kim oversees the creative direction and editorial content of the magazine and online social networking community. She secures contributors and is responsible for maintaining the fun, upbeat, inspirational and often-humorous tone of Singular, a lifestyle guide for successful single living.