Julia Roberts And George Clooney's Friendship Began With A $20 Bill

For over two decades, Julia Roberts and George Clooney have enjoyed a close bond. Beginning with their initial introduction, the two actors discovered they had an instant connection. "The minute we met, we had fun," Clooney recalled to People in 2022. That same year, Roberts reflected on her first impression of Clooney, telling Jimmy Kimmel that she predicted, "I'm going to know this person until the end of time."

In an interesting twist of fate, the spark between the two actors was foretold by the media. In various articles, Roberts and Clooney were alleged to be best friends, even before the two had met. These false reports piqued Roberts' interest. After reading an article that incorrectly claimed she attended a party at Clooney's home, Roberts hoped to actually make his acquaintance one day. 

Then, in 2000, she got her opportunity when Clooney wanted Roberts to participate in a remake of "Ocean's Eleven."  Clooney sent her a script to check out, and since he's a well-known prankster, he decided to make a memorable first impression by jokingly offering the successful actor $20 to participate in his film. Roberts agreed to work with him, and the two actors began forging a creative partnership, later co-starring in movies like "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind," "Money Monster," and "Ticket to Paradise."  Offscreen, their personal relationship blossomed into a true friendship filled with fun.

Roberts bonded with Clooney over on-set mischief

When George Clooney sent Julia Roberts $20 in jest, she'd just starred in "Erin Brockovich" and set a record as the first female actor to earn $20 million for a film. Clooney was aware of this milestone, and he couldn't resist acknowledging it with some tongue-in-cheek humor.  While Roberts earned more than $20 for participating in the film, she didn't reach the level of her "Erin Brockovich" earnings. The extensive cast of A-listers in "Ocean's Eleven" purportedly agreed to lower salaries to keep production costs down. 

During her "Ocean's Eleven" experience, Roberts was on the receiving of additional pranks orchestrated by Clooney, including buckets of water positioned precariously over doors and heavy plants that were dragged to barricade her inside her trailer.  In turn, Roberts also got into the mischievous spirit by strategically placing plastic wrap over her co-stars' toilet seats. 

However, three years later, when Clooney and Roberts participated in the sequel, "Ocean's Twelve," their friendship evolved beyond good-natured tomfoolery. Roberts was pregnant with twins, and she was pleasantly surprised at Clooney and her other castmates' caring attitude. "It was such a sweet shift in our relationships because originally, it was all pranks and teasing each other," she later informed Allure. The actor was later astonished when she discovered a heavy statue stowed in her luggage. Unaware the jest was a mistake and that George intended to prank Brad Pitt, Roberts struck back with a prank involving a combination of itching powder and Neosporin.

Julia Roberts and George Clooney never desired a romance

Before they were friends, Julia Roberts said George Clooney caught her eye when he was on the TV show "Sisters." However, Roberts and Clooney's relationship has always been platonic. For one thing, both actors have frequently been involved with other people during the decades of their friendship. For another, they have never had romantic feelings for each other. 

Even with their combined acting prowess, Roberts and Clooney had difficulty pretending to be a couple onscreen. In "Ticket to Paradise," the friends share a kiss when they play a divorced couple. Clooney later remarked that he and Roberts were laughing so much as they attempted to kiss that 80 takes were required. "It is like kissing your best friend," Roberts explained to "Today." "Thanks for that," Clooney quipped in response. "You know I was a two-time 'Sexiest Man Alive?'"

Instead, Roberts and Clooney have developed a deep friendship that has expanded to include their families. According to Clooney and Roberts, one of the best things about their friendship is its enduring sense of fun, kindness, and loyalty. Clooney's developed a camaraderie with Roberts' husband Danny Moder and Roberts gets along well with Amal Clooney. Due to COVID-19 quarantine restrictions while filming "Ticket to Paradise," Roberts took comfort from spending time with the Clooneys while she was separated from Moder and their three children. The Clooneys are also parents of twins, and they call Roberts "Auntie JuJu," as a nod to their families' close connection.