When you’ve been named the Sexiest Man Alive multiple times but have never settled down, like George Clooney, you get called a playboy, but people also start to question your sexuality. The Advocate sat down with Clooney, who’s doing a staged reading of Dustin Lance Black‘s Prop 8 play, and asked him about the rumors that have followed him for years. His response was wonderfully candid:
“I think it’s funny, but the last thing you’ll ever see me do is jump up and down, saying, ‘These are lies!’ That would be unfair and unkind to my good friends in the gay community. I’m not going to let anyone make it seem like being gay is a bad thing. My private life is private, and I’m very happy in it. Who does it hurt if someone thinks I’m gay? I’ll be long dead and there will still be people who say I was gay. I don’t give a shit.”
It can be annoying when stars play the “no comment” card, but here Clooney makes the distinction that he’s not being coy; he simply doesn’t want to make it sound like being queer is bad. The politics are interesting to consider here, like the fact that even though he jokes that he played Batman gay when it was his turn in the bat suit, Clooney has never actually been offered a gay role.
He explained that now that he’s in a position to greenlight films, he looks at scripts that will make good movies, as opposed to what will make good characters. It’s not the most helpful thing he could be doing for the LGBT community, but that’s less his responsibility than a screenwriter who could write that great movie that also happens to have strong queer characters.
We all know that Clooney has a way with words, but nonetheless he had an unexpected response when asked what would happen if an actor of his stature ever came out of the closet:
“Look at Neil Patrick Harris. He’s a big star on a hit show, and no one’s telling him he can’t play a straight womanizer. I use Neil as an example because I’ve spent time with him and I like him a lot.”
In 2009, an Italian reporter stripped down during the Venice Film Festival and declared his love for Clooney. Although it was a funny YouTube moment, the star says that the reporter was just looking for attention: “It was so funny, because as handlers tried to shoo that guy out, he just kept yelling, ‘I’m gay, George! I’m gay!’ I was like, ‘OK. Got it. And? What now?’”