As the Oscar winner put it, he was at a distinct disadvantage.
Of all the Hollywood actors to be cast in the real-life dad role, George Clooney was perhaps the least expected. The 56-year-old movie star turned pop culture predictions upside down when he welcomed twins, Ella and Alexander, with wife Amal Clooney three months ago.
“It’s something I never thought I would be doing,” he tells People. “All my friends are laughing at me and they think it’s funny—I get it. Fair enough, I gave them a hard enough time.”
One aspect he’s legitimately having a hard time with right now? Bonding with the newborns. Just like all men, George says he has a distinct disadvantage.
“Right now with my kids, because I have no breasts, I don’t exist,” he says. “I pick them up, I give them a bottle and I hand them back to my wife and they’re happier.”
It’s an experience a lot of dad can relate to. Research indicates a lot of dads expect an immediate bond with their children, but report that the relationship takes some time to form. Unlike moms, who report feeling like moms during pregnancy, most dads don’t experience that paternal sense until they’re changing diapers and losing sleep.
Even if the twins still prefer Amal at this point, it’s great George is offering a bottle. He may not feel it, but that connection is beneficial to both dad and baby: Kids with involved dads do better long term. And dads who bond with their babies have reduced risks for depression during the early days of parenthood.
Of course, George isn’t like every other new dad with a 3-month-old at home. The Oscar winner knows his wealth and celebrity will impact Ella and Alexander. He just says he and Amal are dedicated to making sure the twins grow up to be decent human beings despite their privilege.
“Just because you happen to have been born into a sort of lucky situation in many ways, certainly not into poverty and into some place of luxury, you want to make sure they’re empathetic and compassionate,” he tells People. “That they learn all the things I was taught as a young man about how we’re only successful as a country as the people who are least successful.”
With a human rights lawyer for a mom, there’s no way Ella and Alexander will grow up suffering from affluenza. And, from the sounds of it, George's performance as their dad is sure to be a winning one, too.