GALLERY: George Clooney, Amal Alamuddin tie the knot in Venice
The world's most famous bachelor, George Clooney, broke a vow to remain single on Saturday and married human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin during a weekend of lavish celebrations in Venice.
The Italian city of gondolas and palazzi looked like Hollywood on the Adriatic as A-list guests cruised between luxury hotels for the extravaganza, billed as the party of the year even as details were kept largely secret.
Venice's Grand Canal turned into an aquatic red carpet as the tuxedo-clad actor and his guests crossed the lagoon from the Cipriani hotel for dinner at the seven-star Aman Canal Grande Venice, housed in the 16th-century Palazzo Papadopoli.
Actors Matt Damon and Bill Murray mingled with model Cindy Crawford, Vogue editor Anna Wintour and singer Bono at a reception on the terrace of the plush Cipriani.
Passing "vaporetti" public boats tilted sideways as passengers crowded to see two-time Oscar winner Clooney, who waved to onlookers and rubbed his hands together on arrival at the Aman, as if to show he was looking forward to a good meal.
Kentucky-born Clooney, who shot to stardom in the television series ER, had vowed never to remarry after his 1993 divorce from actress Talia Balsam and is said to have made a US$100,000 bet with Michelle Pfeiffer that he would stay single.
The Lebanese-born Alamuddin, who had no previous connection to Hollywood, has represented Ukrainian former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko at the European Court of Human Rights, and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in extradition proceedings.
"She will keep him on his toes because she is bright," said Judith Graham, 59, of Surrey, England. "He's had all these actresses fawning over him before. I hope he'll be happy."
The two left the Aman on a wooden speedboat appropriately called "Amore" on Sunday afternoon, headed for the famed Cipriani hotel, where they were expected to have a late lunch.
Clooney, 53, wearing a light gray suit, and the 36-year-old Amal, wearing a short, white flower-patterned dress with lace around the shoulders, waved at a swarm of photographers in boats and well wishers on bridges as the boat slowly plied the waters of the canal towards the Cipriani on the Giudecca Island.
Photos: AFP, Reuters
Speculation about more celebrations to come spread after the local government said it would close a number of streets around Venice's 14th-century Ca' Farsetti town hall on Monday.
The weekend extravaganza has been billed as the party of the year even as details remained secret and lavish receptions and dinners at luxurious hotels were shielded from prying eyes and photographer's long lenses.
Alamuddin, who is based in Britain, also advised former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan on the conflict in Syria, an issue about which Clooney has spoken publicly.
Clooney has also led campaigns to highlight the plight of refugees in Darfur, Sudan, and is expected to donate the fees earned from selling rights to the wedding photos to that cause. - Reuters