Clooney returns to TV after 20 years
The veteran actor says he is the "luckiest man in the world" for being with wife Amal
George Clooney turned 58 on May 6, and declared himself "the luckiest guy in the world".
Speaking at the Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills to promote his new satirical miniseries Catch-22 the day after, the US actor - who married British-Lebanese human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin in 2014 - said: "I feel like late in life, I found somebody that I can't imagine ever being more in love with and I can't imagine someone I am more proud of.
"My birthday last night was one of the most spectacular birthdays ever, because it was the two of us having dinner.
"Every single day for the last year - every day, Saturday, Sunday - Amal and the editor-in-chief of Reuters Stephen Adler and a brilliant lawyer named Gail Gove (Reuters' chief counsel) worked tirelessly to get two Reuters journalists out of prison in Myanmar. It was long, hard work.
"Last night, we were sitting there having dinner together and they were released. That is as good a birthday present as you could ever have.
"It was a beautiful moment and Amal was crying and I felt like I couldn't be luckier than to be in her presence."
Clooney was referring to how Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, two Reuters journalists who were jailed in Myanmar after they were convicted of breaking the Official Secrets Act, walked free from prison under a presidential amnesty after more than 500 days behind bars.
Clooney was also recently in the news calling for a boycott of all luxury hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei because of his hardline syariah law introducing death by stoning for adultery and gay sex.
Clooney explained: "You cannot shame bad guys. But what you can do is shame the people that do business with them, because big businesses don't want to be associated with the bad guys.
"The boycott of hotels by wealthy people doesn't harm the Sultan.
"But what harms him is when all the banks and financial institutions come out and say, "That's it, we are out of the Brunei business'."
He continued: "My wife is taking ISIS to court. This is the first trial against ISIS.
"We have to pay attention to things; the world is different now.
"Our family motto is pick good fights."
On his own career front, Clooney returns to the small screen with Catch-22, 20 years after leaving the medical drama ER which shot him to fame.
Based on Joseph Heller's seminal 1961 novel of the same name, it premieres first on HBO GO on May 18 and will subsequently air on HBO (StarHub TV Ch 601/Singtel TV Ch 420) on June 4 at 9.15pm.
The story revolves around a WWII-era US air force bombardier John Yossarian (Christopher Abbott) who is desperately trying to get out of the war.
His real problem is not the enemy, but his own army, which keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service.
Clooney turned down the offer of doing Catch-22 at first because "it's a beloved novel and you don't really like messing with those kinds of things".
But once he read the first three scripts, he changed his mind. "I just thought it's a spectacular take on a classic story. There's some really good storytelling going on in television right now, so it's a good time to do it."
He initially took the lead role of Colonel Cathcart (Kyle Chanders), but then switched to the lesser part of Lieutenant Scheisskopf as the multiple duties of acting, executive producing and directing two of the six episodes proved too onerous.
One senses his proudest role is still that of being father to two-year-old twins Ella and Alexander.
Clooney - who has three homes, in Los Angeles, Lake Como and England - boasts that his kids can speak Italian already.
"Because we spend a lot of time in Italy, we decided Italian is going to be one of their other languages.
"Now they speak all their ABCs in Italian and English. They count from one to 20 in Italian and I can't do it in English," he joked.
"Yeah, they definitely got my wife's genes, in the brain department. And they are really funny and smart."
A bad motorcycle accident last year convinced him to give up riding, as he clarified it was not Amal who enforced a ban.
"We were coming back from the hospital and she said, 'So do you think you want to ride again?' I was pretty rattled, I hit the guy at 70 miles an hour. It was a lot of luck and I used up nine lives in one shot. So I figure I had 40 good years of riding and I can let that go. I've got twins now and I've got to be responsible," he said.
Living in the little cottage town of Sonning in Berkshire, England, has its perks, such as being near royals.
Clooney is good friends with Prince Harry and his wife Meghan and attended their wedding with Amal, but he is not going to be the godfather of royal baby Archie even though they share the same birthday.
"It's a big day for me, and some royal child has been born," he joked of the little prince stealing his thunder.
"I have known (Harry and Meghan) for a long while now. We live not too far from one another and we have dinners and stuff, and they are just really nice, fun, kind people. They are going to be great parents."
The Clooneys' next-door neighbour also happens to be UK Prime Minister Theresa May.
He said: "We have never met her because on Sunday she goes to the church, and Amal and I go to the pub. And since Brexit, we have still never crossed paths, because now she goes to the pub and we go to the church."