Since breaking onto the movie screen in From Dusk Til Dawn, George Clooney has always seemed larger than life, an actor who wasn't afraid to take on any role that meant something to him. For twenty years, he has graced the big screen with his charm and good looks, but after a fall on the set of Syria in 2005, Clooney fought a private, hellish battle of debilitating headaches and unyielding pain.
In a 2012 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Clooney opened up about the two-and-a-half-inch tear in the middle of his back and the half-inch tear in his neck, saying that there were days when he thought he was going to die, and every night he awakened at least five times. It took him a long time to come to terms with the brutal health issue he had no control over.
"I thought I was going to die, [but] I've gone from where I can't function, where 'I just can't live like this,' to 'I've got a bad headache.' It's called 'positional,' meaning the longer you sit upright or stand upright, the worse it gets. That's how it is. As the day goes on, it gets worse. My ears will literally pop and my head goes ape-shit."
As Clooney endured the pain, he continued to make movies, that required a lot intensity and focus, including The Good German, Michael Clayton, and Ocean's Thirteen. For his role in The Descendants, he won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Academy Award, a BAFTA Award, a Satellite Award, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards—achievements he received in spite of the agony he suffered.
In addition to his acting career, Clooney continued his humanitarian efforts, traveling to Chad and the Sudan in 2006 to make a documentary—A Journey to Darfur—to bring attention to the plight of the refugees and to advocate for action. And in December 2008, he took a trip to China and Egypt, hoping to obtain help for the refugees from those governments. And no one knows the level of pain he must have endured during those arduous journeys.
It wasn't until 2014 that the actor was able to find some relief from the pain and the insomnia after yet another surgery. And the operation sounds almost as brutal as the pain.
"[It was] a blood patch, where they take your blood and shoot it into your spine and get the blood to coagulate to plug up the holes."
Nevertheless, the surgery made a difference in the actor's life and slowly enabled him to focus on the being alive instead of just making it through each day.
"I still get headaches sometimes. But even the doctor, when I had surgery in 2005, said, 'Listen, this pain is going to go away with a whimper, not a bang.' And there's some truth there. It took years to slowly diminish and diminish and diminish to where now anything I get is negligible. It's like having a hangover: You know when you get it, and you can handle it. It's been much, much better."
The humanitarian has been able to work virtually pain free for the past three years, and while he continues to bring his A-game to the screen, knowing he worked for years while suffering such agony gives fans a different look at this dedicated actor—a man who kept going, kept trying to help, and kept living.
[Source: The Hollywood Reporter]