BEIRUT: The world’s paparazzi, bloggers and most prestigious newspapers all appear to be overwhelmed with the big news of this year: George Clooney is getting married. Even before their top-notch wedding extravaganza, which took place at a number of Venice’s most luxurious hotels over the weekend, the American actor and his new partner, Lebanon-born lawyer Amal Alamuddin, had been occupying headlines for a good while.
Beating millions of ladies to the punch, Alamuddin, who originally hails from the Chouf village of Baaqlin but moved to Britain at age 3, married the world’s most famous bachelor Saturday after meeting him toward the end of last year in Rome.
For Hollywood-fanatics and celebrity columnists the event was all about Clooney’s decision to backtrack on his longtime vow to never marry again.
“I keep saying I’ll never get married again or have children but people just don’t want to believe me,” Clooney told a British newspaper as recently as January this year.
But for Lebanon the story was even more personal.
The whole spectrum of local TV stations and newspapers excitedly embraced the news, turning it into a source of patriotic pride for the country. Popular daily paper As-Safir ran the headline, “Amal Alamuddin, the first lady of Hollywood.”
But while most coverage of the matrimonial union described Alamuddin, 36, as the “lucky” one to have bagged the A-list star, some chose to go in a different direction.
“Internationally acclaimed barrister Amal Alamuddin marries an actor,” read the headline of a Sunday article by Businesswoman.com’s Amanda Rose.
After praising Alamuddin, Rose chose humorously turned to Clooney.
“He’s probably a nice man, but seems to be a bit clingy, as since she met him it’s hard to find a photo or footage of Amal without him hanging around in the background,” Rose said.
“We only hope he doesn’t hold her back from conquering the world. We think this George Clooney fellow has scored big time.”
Since 2011, Alamuddin, an internationally acclaimed barrister, has been the defendant of one of the centuries’ most controversial individuals, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Mark Stephens, who hired her to represent Assange, described her as a “fabulously bright woman.”
“She’s independent, has a Rolls-Royce mind and intersocial skills to die for,” he said.
She helped ex-Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko challenge her imprisonment, regularly consults for governments and individuals on international law cases, and has advised former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the Syrian crisis.
Unbeknown to many, Alamuddin has been involved in the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, the international court investigating the 2005 assassination of late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
She has also served on the expert board of a campaign to prevent sexual violence in conflict launched by former U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague in cooperation with Angeline Jolie.
All in all, Alamuddin seems to have all the qualifications for 53-year-old Clooney to finally say: “I’m marrying up.”