George Clooney Has Come Clean About His 15-Year Feud With Russell Crowe

George Clooney has gained a reputation as a relatively mild-mannered actor who’s known for his charm and charisma. So it may surprise you to learn that the star has been at war with fellow movie A-lister Russell Crowe for years. And in October 2020 Clooney dragged their feud into the spotlight once again.

Clooney and Crowe have each enjoyed extraordinary success as actors. Both stars have a number of leading roles to their names and are Academy Award winners in their own right. But while the pair are arguably of equal standing in the movie world, it would seem that there’s some tension between them.

Yes, it appears that even A-listers aren’t immune to a bit of mud-slinging when the opportunity arises. And over the years Crowe had criticized Clooney for appearing in TV commercials, while Clooney has called Crowe out for playing in a rock band. So it would appear that there has been no love lost between the two.

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Clooney first rose to fame playing Dr. Doug Ross on the TV drama ER. But since ditching his scrubs, the actor has carved out a successful career in Hollywood. He has enjoyed a number of major movie roles which have even included an outing as the iconic superhero Batman.

Crowe, meanwhile, started out in Australian cinema before becoming a Hollywood megastar. He is known for movies such as L.A. Confidential, A Beautiful Mind and Gladiator. Off-screen the New Zealand-born star has embarked on a musical career, which included fronting the band 30 Odd Foot of Grunts.

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On the face of things then, it would seem that Clooney and Crowe were very much cut from the same cloth. Both of them are ranked among the most influential actors of their generation. Plus the two men have each won a Best Actor Oscar. Clooney bagged the award for his role in the 2005 movie Syriana while Crowe was honored for 2000’s Gladiator.

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But delving into their respective pasts, it would seem that fame and critical acclaim weren’t the only things that the pair have in common. Because even their childhoods could be considered as similar – with both future movie stars being raised far from the bright lights of Hollywood.

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Clooney, for instance, was born in Lexington, Kentucky, on May 6, 1961. Due to his father’s job, the family moved a lot during the star’s upbringing, setting up home in a number of locations across Kentucky and Ohio. They eventually settled down in the small town of Augusta, Kentucky, where they lived in a Victorian home.

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And Crowe grew up on the opposite side of the world to Clooney. He was born in Wellington, New Zealand, on April 7, 1964. At the age of four, the would-be actor relocated with his family to Sydney, Australia. But they returned to New Zealand around a decade later in 1978.

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But while both Clooney and Crowe’s childhoods seemed far removed from show business, both of them had links with the industry. Despite his modest upbringing, Clooney’s dad Nick, was a news anchor and TV personality. His aunt, on the other hand, was Rosemary Clooney, a famous actress and singer.

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Crowe’s links to show business were perhaps more modest, but they existed nonetheless. During the family’s time in Sydney, both of his parents worked as caterers on different TV and film sets. So growing up, the star spent a large proportion of his youth hanging out on shoots.

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This early exposure to the world of show business provided both men with their first tastes of the spotlight. Clooney appeared on the small screen from the age of five, starring in sketches alongside his dad. Similarly, Crowe got his break aged six appearing as an orphan on the Australian TV show Spyforce.

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Yet both actors had their careers as child stars cut short. Clooney took a break from show business after a brush with Bell’s palsy, which causes partial paralysis to the face, in middle school. And it would seem that Crowe was forced to put his acting career on hold when his family returned to his native New Zealand.

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It wouldn’t be until the 1990s that both men received their big breaks. Clooney’s came in the form of ER in 1994. While a year later Crowe made his American movie debut alongside Leonardo DiCaprio, Gene Hackman and Sharon Stone in The Quick and the Dead.

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As the years rolled on, both Clooney and Crowe carved out successful careers as Hollywood leading men. And both actors came to be considered heartthrobs in their own way. Clooney himself won People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” gong twice, and he was long considered “Hollywood’s most eligible bachelor” until his 2014 marriage to Amal Alamuddin.

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But while Clooney’s charm and personality made him the object of fans’ affection, the opposite may be true for Crowe. That’s because, thanks to his impulsive behavior and a couple of alleged brawls, the New Zealander established himself as one of show business’ great bad boys. Even so, just like Clooney, he came to be considered as one of the sexiest men in Hollywood. Just ask Meg Ryan.

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All things considered, you would be forgiven for thinking that Clooney and Crowe had a lot in common. And it’s not hard to imagine the two men sitting down and chewing the fat about their successful careers. But it turns out that the pair don’t exactly see eye to eye.

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Because come 2020 Clooney and Crowe had been embroiled in a 15-year feud with one another. And during that time, shots were fired by both sides. For example, Crowe attacked Clooney for appearing in TV commercials, and Clooney took aim at the New Zealander’s rock band, 30 Odd Foot of Grunts.

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It’s not clear where the apparent bad blood between Clooney and Crowe stems from. But it’s been rumored that the cause was a case of sour grapes. According to the Australian magazine New Idea in November 2020, Clooney was envious of Crowe for bagging the lead role in Gladiator back in 1999.

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In case you don’t remember, the 2000 film Gladiator was a huge success. The Hollywood blockbuster won five Oscars including Best Picture. For his performance as the fallen Roman general Maximus, Crowe was honored with his own Academy Award. But in 2020 a source told New Idea, “[Clooney] always wishes he got that one.”

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And Gladiator is apparently not the only example of Clooney coveting a role that ultimately went to Crowe, the New Idea source added. The supposed insider claimed that Clooney was “flabbergasted” when he wasn’t considered for the New Zealander’s role in The Nice Guys in 2016.

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So it may be the case that tension had been bubbling between the pair ever since the turn of the millennium. But the first time the public appeared to be made aware of the feud was around 2013. It was then that Clooney revealed Crowe had labeled him a “sell-out” for appearing in TV commercials.

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You see, Clooney has starred in numerous commercials over the years. But most prominently he has been the face of Nespresso coffee machines since 2006. Speaking in 2013 to British newspaper The Guardian, the actor revealed a curious use of the spoils he made from Nespresso. He’d put most of the money, in fact, towards funding a satellite that watched over the former Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashi. Random!

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But despite Clooney’s good intentions, it appeared that Crowe wasn’t impressed. And in 2013 Clooney told Esquire magazine that the Gladiator star had “picked a fight with me.” He said of Crowe, “He started it for no reason at all. He put out this thing saying, ‘George Clooney, Harrison Ford, and Robert De Niro are sellouts.’”

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And Clooney claimed, in the same interview, that Crowe later tried to reach out to him in an attempt to make amends. He explained, “The truth is that [Crowe] did send me a book of poems to apologize for insulting the s*** out of me, which he did.” But by then the gulf between the pair had grown.

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Perhaps in retaliation to Crowe’s “sellouts” comment, Clooney laid into his fellow actor’s musical endeavors. The actor told Esquire “I put out a statement saying, ‘He’s probably right. And I’m glad he told us, ’cause Bob and Harrison and I were also thinking about starting a band, which would also fall under the heading of bad use of celebrity.’”

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Attacking his band really riled Crowe, Clooney claimed. The Ocean’s Eleven star revealed, “That’s when he really went off on me. ‘Who the f*** does this guy think he is? He’s a Frank Sinatra wannabe.’ He really went after me.” But on this occasion at least, Clooney said he decided not to join in the slanging match.

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In the version of events that Clooney put forward to Esquire magazine, he reached out to Crowe reminding him they had nothing to gain from a public spat. He explained, “I sent him a note going, ‘Dude, the only people who succeed when two famous people are fighting is People magazine. What the f*** is wrong with you?’”

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During a subsequent award season following their feud, it seemed likely that the two actors would run into each other. Clooney said of Crowe, “He was gonna see me at the Golden Globes… So he sends me a disc of his music and a thing of his poetry. I think he said, ‘I was all misquoted,’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, yeah. Whatever.’”

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In that same, surprisingly candid, interview with Esquire Clooney also took aim at Leonardo DiCaprio. It appeared that the actor was disapproving of the company DiCaprio was keeping after the pair’s respective teams played a basketball game. And it seems that Clooney was not impressed with the opposing side’s bravado.

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Clooney told the magazine, “The thing about playing Leo is you have all these guys talking s***.” Getting to the crux of the story, he added, “We’re all like 50-years-old, and we beat them three straight.” Clooney concluded, “How they talked about their game made me think of how important it is to have someone in your life to tell you what’s what. I’m not sure if Leo has someone like that.”

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But despite Clooney’s comment about DiCaprio, it was his dispute with Crowe that appeared to have had a long-lasting effect on him. That’s because the actor returned to the subject in November 2020 during a chat with GQ magazine. And while speaking to the magazine, Clooney discussed several run-ins he’d had over the course of his career.

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Yes, the star said that he was proud to pick “good fights.” Among the spats was one with TV Guide for failing to include fellow ER actor Eriq La Salle on a front cover. In 1997 Clooney noticed that while the magazine regularly featured the show’s white stars on its front page, black actor La Salle had never received the honor.

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So Clooney mounted a campaign against the magazine. He persuaded his co-stars to boycott the publication and spoke publicly about the alleged inequality. In the end, TV Guide responded by awarding La Salle with his own cover story. Not a bad result all round then. But that’s not all.

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Because the star also took on a Washington Post critic who suggested that Confessions of a Dangerous Mind wasn’t directed by Clooney, but by his friend Steven Soderbergh instead. So Clooney wrote a letter to the writer on the matter teasing, “Letter actually written by George Clooney,” at the end.

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Then, of course, there were Clooney’s issues with Crowe. The actor addressed the cause of the feud in his interview with GQ. Clearly still hurt by his comments, Clooney said of his fellow film star, “Just out of the blue, he’s like, ‘I’m not some sellout like Robert De Niro and Harrison Ford and George Clooney.’ I’m like, ‘Where the f*** did that come from?’”

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But it seems that Clooney is actually a fan of the celebrity feud phenomena. While speaking to GQ, the actor admitted, “I have much more fun watching Chrissy Teigen.” It would appear that the movie star was referring to the model’s tendency to get a touch prickly on social media when critics try to call her out.

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Because Teigen has gone head-to-head with a number of celebrities online over the years. In 2019 she was even involved in a Twitter spat with the President of the United States, Donald Trump. After he referred to Teigen as John Legend’s “filthy-mouthed wife,” the model responded by calling him a “p**** a*s b***h.”

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And the way that Teigen is unafraid to take on even her most famous critics seemed to impress Clooney. He told GQ, “Somebody steps into her world and you go, ‘Oh, I wouldn’t do that, dude.’ It’s so much fun. Like somebody who thinks they’re really smart, and you just go, ‘Ugh, dude. You brought a knife to a gunfight.’”

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So while Clooney has expressed his bewilderment at Crowe’s apparently unprovoked attack, it seems that the film star isn’t completely opposed to celebrity spats. After all, he enjoys watching Teigen take down her detractors on Twitter. Thus it’s hard to say if we’ve heard the last words on the feud between the two leading men.

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