George Clooney gets engaged, and the reaction is surprisingly not snarky

After British human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin was spotted wearing a sparkly diamond ring on her left hand at a Los Angeles restaurant last week, news broke shortly after that the rock was on her finger because she was engaged to George Clooney, Hollywood’s favorite A-list playboy that tabloids could confidently tell you was never, ever getting married.

Surprise! Word leaked, and Alamuddin’s London law firm even released a congratulatory statement on Monday: “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.”

Obviously, that was big news in celebrity-sphere as Clooney, 52, has been one of the most famous bachelors in the world for two decades since his divorce from Talia Balsam in 1993. Clooney’s parade of stunning, younger girlfriends has become a running joke in Hollywood, from gossip sites insisting he keeps them on a “two-year contract” to that”Gravity”-referencing zinger from Tina Fey and Amy Poehler at the Golden Globe Awards. (It proved “George Clooney would rather float away into space and die than spend one more minute with a woman his own age.”)

Them something interesting happened. After the typical Twitter reaction –  jabs about hell freezing over, jokes about disappointed single women crying themselves to sleep — something else happened: The snark — the default response to any celebrity news these days — mostly just stopped.

Why is this? We’re going to go out on a limb and say it’s probably not because people were so ecstatically happy that virtual strangers got engaged. Instead, the reaction seemed to be more impressed than anything else, especially that a famous actor would fall for a non-supermodel. (Note: Alamuddin does look like a supermodel.) Thanks to the flurry of “Who is Amal Alamuddin?” stories that went up over the weekend, everyone learned that Alamuddin, 36, is an accomplished international attorney with a wildly impressive background. In addition to speaking three languages, Alamuddin clerked for Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor; represented Wikileaks founder Julian Assange; and advised Kofi Annan about matters regarding Syria. The overall conclusion: Clooney is marrying up.

 

Also, for all the tabloid headlines, the “Clooney as a permanent bachelor” storyline has definitely gotten old over time. Even the always-cool Clooney seemed frustrated about the intense media speculation about his girlfriends, making a rare statement about his love life last fall when tabloids started harassing women every time they were spotted with Clooney. “Three different stories in three weeks. I should be an athlete. But, no of course, it’s all made up,” he told People of reports he was dating Katie Holmes, Croatian model Monika Jakisic and, ironically, Alamuddin.

Plus, aside from the above comment, Clooney is notoriously private, with a rep that always goes with “I never comment on my client’s personal life.” With a lack of any details, the story just naturally fizzles.

Overall, the combination of Alamuddin’s impressive resume and the never-ending Clooney relationship storyline contributed to the shrug-worthy nature of the news. And for Clooney, that’s likely the perfect reaction.

READ MORE:

Reliable Source: George Clooney’s bachelor days are reportedly over

Amal Alamuddin and George Clooney’s engagement, and what the modern fairytale looks like

Emily Yahr is an entertainment reporter and pop culture blogger for the Style section. She joined the Post in May 2008, a week before she graduated from the University of Maryland, and worked on Lisa de Moraes' TV Column and blog.
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Emily Yahr · April 28