Why George Clooney Turned Down $35 Million For ‘One Day’s Worth Of Work’

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George Clooney is a very rich man. The Ocean’s Eleven star is so well off that he can afford to pass on some astronomical paydays. Why would anyone turn down $35 million for just one day of work? Let’s find out.

Commercial Not Worth It

The Guardian recently asked Clooney a thought-provoking question: does he have enough money now. Clooney answered yes, and relayed an interesting, albeit frustrating anecdote: “I was offered $35 million for one day’s work for an airline commercial.” He consulted with his wife, human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, and “we decided it’s not worth it.”

Why oh why would Clooney decline such a hefty payday? He didn’t want to lose sleep. Clooney wouldn’t say the name of the airline, but revealed it was part of a “country that, although it’s an ally, is questionable at times, and so I thought: ‘Well if it takes a minute’s sleep away from me, it’s not worth it.’” Clooney’s no stranger to commercials work, primarily for Nespresso, but this airline was too dirty for him to play ball.

A Mogul

It’s easy to forget that Clooney has made way more money from tequila than acting. Four years ago he sold his tequila company Casamigos for about $1 billion. Starting a company is what thrust him up Forbes wealth rankings, not starring in From Dusk Til Dawn. $35 million is life-changing money for 99% of humans, but it’s a drop in the bucket for Clooney.

He Gives Back, Kind Of

Clooney doesn’t hoard his wealth. He and Amal are both philanthropists whose Clooney Foundation helps human rights victims all over the world. He’s also a generous man to his friends.

One of Clooney’s biggest paydays came from Gravity. The studio offered him a percentage of the film’s profits, and it did very well. In an interview with GQ, he revealed what he did with the money: he gave it to his friends. “I thought, what I do have are these guys who’ve all, over a period of 35 years, helped me in one way or another. I’ve slept on their couches when I was broke. They loaned me money when I was broke. They helped me when I needed help over the years.”

The best gift Clooney could think of was $1 million cash. He figured out how to fill 14 Tumi bags, and dolled it out to his 14 closest friends almost exactly one year before he wed Amal. A rich man asked him once why he would ever do such a thing, to which Clooney said “why wouldn’t you do that, you schmuck?”

With a generous bent and hundreds of millions to his name, it’s easy to see why Clooney would rather have a clear conscience than $35 million.

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