George Clooney finally meets his match with human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin
George Clooney has fallen for the total package.
After dating a parade of models, starlets, A-listers and professional wrestlers, the international bachelor of mystery fell for an accomplished British human rights lawyer with Oxford-educated smarts, New York-style ambition and Hollywood-level beauty.
The fiancee at the center of it all is Amal Alamuddin, who graduated with honors from Oxford and New York University law school, has represented WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and given legal advice to former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and the King of Bahrain.
And she’s only 36.
But that illustrious past is prologue to what may be her most improbable feat: She changed the mind of an inveterate bachelor who once claimed he would never marry again after a short-lived union with the actress Talia Balsam more than two decades ago.
Alamuddin also won over Clooney’s parents, who gushed about their future daughter-in-law on Monday.
“We’re thrilled,” dad Nicholas Clooney, 80, tells the Daily News. “Amal is a wonderful girl, and it’s wonderful news. We think it will be a great marriage.”
Clooney’s father and mother, Nina, went on a double-date with their son and future daughter-in-law in February at the White House screening “Monuments Men,” Clooney’s latest movie.
“This is their time, and they’ll have their own announcement to make, but suffice it to say, Nina and I are thrilled,” the senior Clooney gushed.
Clooney, 52, wed Balsam in 1989 and divorced her four years later, famously telling Barbara Walters, “I won’t marry again. I wasn’t very good at it.”
He became a serial dater over the next two decades, pairing off with Italian model Elisabetta Canalis, cocktail waitress Sarah Larson, actress Lisa Snowdon and former wrestler Stacey Keibler.
His cynical view of marriage carried on into an interview with The Express news site in the U.K. earlier this year: “I keep saying I’ll never get married again or have children but people just don’t want to believe me.”
Famous last words. So what set Alamuddin apart from the other lovely, accomplished women who dated gorgeous George?
The dynamic duo actually have a lot in common, including a shared passion for global human rights issues. Clooney founded the Not On Our Watch project to prevent and stop atrocities such as the genocide in Darfur, and organized the Hope for Haiti Now telethon for the 2010 earthquake victims. Alamuddin has made a name for herself in international human rights law.
She was born in Beirut, but her family fled Lebanon’s war-torn capital when she was 2. She grew up in Buckinghamshire, England, and won a scholarship to St. Hugh’s College at Oxford University, where she graduated with honors in 2000. She then earned her law degree at NYU, winning an award for excellence in entertainment law.
But she didn’t make a career out of Tinseltown contracts. After passing the New York bar in 2002, she went to Sullivan & Cromwell and joined the white-shoe firm’s Criminal Defense and Investigations Group, where her clients included household names such as Enron and Arthur Andersen. She was also a student clerk for then-Appeals Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor, now on the highest court in the land.
Alamuddin was hired by the prestigious Doughty Street Chambers firm in London in 2010, where she now specializes in international law, human rights, criminal law and extradition. She’s picked up high-profile cases including WikiLeaker Assange and the Ukraine’s Tymoshenko at the firm, and advises the royal court of Bahrain as part of her advisory work in the Middle East.
“She’s a brilliant and passionate defender of human rights,” fellow barrister Geoffrey Robertson told Reuters, adding that she’s highly respected by her colleagues.
Her firm was quick to congratulate the couple on Monday, stating: “The barristers and staff of Doughty Street Chambers offer their best wishes and congratulations to Ms. Amal Alamuddin, a member of Chambers, and Mr. George Clooney on their engagement to be married.”
Alamuddin has the smarts, but she also makes a suitable distaff side to the world’s most handsome couple. Clooney has taken the People magazine “World’s Sexiest Man Alive” title twice, and the raven-haired stunner was named “Hottest Barrister in London” by the blog Your Barrister Boyfriend last August, where Natalia Naish and Sonia van Gilder Cooke dubbed her “breathtakingly beautiful and formidably successful” over the 21 other lovely lawyers.
“We look at her with a mixture of admiration and envy. She’s not the kind of little Cinderella who’s being plucked from obscurity and given a great life,” said van Gilde Cooke. “She was already his equal in many ways, if not his superior.”
Amal Alamuddin leaves Britain’s Royal Courts of Justice with her client, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange (center).
Alamuddin also deleted her Twitter account, which at its peak last year had 1,800 followers — which lines up with Clooney’s social media philosophy.
“I don’t understand why any famous person would ever be on Twitter,” he told Esquire last November. “Because first of all, the worst thing you can do is make yourself more available, right? Because you’re going to be available to everybody.”
The couple reportedly met while working together on a human rights project related to Syria last year, and were first spotted in public when they dined `a deux at the London Berners Tavern in October. They got into a cab together — and the paparazzi fired off so many flashes that the nighttime turned to day.
Clooney brushed off romance rumors at the time, telling People magazine “it’s all made up.” But he brought Alamuddin as his date to a Feb. 18 White House screening of “Monuments Men” with his parents, followed by drinks with Bill Murray and Matt Damon at the Round Robin and Scotch Bar in D.C.
Their whirlwind courtship heated up during a holiday trip in March to Seychelles, before going on safari in Tanzania, where Clooney put his arm around her while they watched for wildlife.
They were also snapped leaving New York’s Carlyle Hotel together in March, and on a double date with Clooney’s “Leatherheads” co-star John Krasinski and his wife, Emily Blunt, in Los Angeles a week later.
“He’s with someone who is a very accomplished attorney,” a source told People. “She’s on his level.”
In fact, her peers in the London legal circuit are more shocked that Alamuddin settled for Clooney than they are that the actor has finally decided to settle down.
“People in London and in the U.K. are in real shock,” said Alex Aldridge, editor of Legal Cheek, a website covering British legal news. “Surreal is the word. It’s amazing that she is marrying George Clooney.”