By Chris Gardner
George Clooney can't stand pain. So much so that the Oscar-winning actor contemplated suicide to escape the intense agony he endured while hospitalized for nearly a month following an on-set accident in 2005 that left him with a serious spinal injury.
In a far-reaching interview in the latest Rolling Stone, Clooney reveals the thoughts he had after the stunt injury he received while shooting the politically charged, oil industry epic "Syriana."
"I was at a point where I thought, 'I can't exist like this. I can't actually live,'" says the Oscar-winning actor, who appears on the cover to promote the feature films "The Ides of March" and the upcoming "The Descendants." "I was lying in a hospital bed with an IV in my arm, unable to move, having these headaches where it feels like you're having a stroke, and for a short three-week period, I started to think, 'I may have to do something drastic about this' ... but I never thought I'd get there. See, I was in a place where I was trying to figure out how to survive."
But survive he did, although the path to good health was admittedly not an easy one. Clooney was bedridden and stricken with severe headaches, not to mention spinal fluid leakings through his nose. The combination caused him to resort to heavy drinking to numb the pain. Clooney has since had surgery to repair his spine, though he admits in the magazine that he still suffers headaches as a result of the accident.
On the subject of virginity, Clooney admits to losing his at the age of 16, which was "young, very young, too young."
Something he won't dish on is his new squeeze, Stacy Keibler. "I might have a girlfriend, but I'm never going to talk about it. I get one thing to keep to myself," deflects the dapper star.
So we'll have to settle for comments on what the rest of Clooney's life is really like. "I think one of the major misconceptions about me is that I live my life the way people think I lead my life, with hot and cold drinks running everywhere and a party all the time," says the 50-year-old. They think of my life in terms of certain excesses that don't really exist. Things are actually fairly simple."