Love is a many-splendored thing, especially when you’re gawking at it from the outside. In this column, we’ll be examining the celebrity couples—or, occasionally, good friends—that give us hope for our own romantic futures, and trying to learn what we can from their well-documented bonds.
Allow me to get a bit of rom-com-obsessive business out of the way, if you will: I am actually not a huge fan of Julia Roberts in romantic-comedy-protagonist roles. I know, I know—it’s heresy—but I prefer Julia on her Ocean’s Eleven grind, sharp-eyed and serious. When she’s trying to be relatable and folksy in Runaway Bride, it just does nothing for me. That said, I’m not made of stone; when I heard that Roberts and George Clooney would be reuniting for Ticket to Paradise, appearing as embittered exes working together to stop their daughter’s wedding, I immediately made plans to see it.
Roberts and Clooney recently sat down for a New York Times interview that proved definitively that whatever chemistry these crazy kids first developed in the aughts (or ’80s? ’90s? It’s impossible for me to tell how old either of them are, given their standard Hollywood-issue good looks) has far from fizzled. Their decades-long friendship makes for extremely cute reading, especially when Roberts tells reporter Kyle Buchanan, “We have a friendship that people are aware of, and we’re going into it as this divorced couple. Half of America probably thinks we are divorced, so we have that going for us.”
This, in a nutshell, is exactly what Roberts and Clooney evoke for me; they seem like divorcees who went to mediation, set up a reasonable custody schedule, did plenty of therapy (both together and individually), took some time apart, and then reunited to roast each other at their kids’ school events. I’m already on the record as being a huge fan of divorce, so is it really so surprising that the idea of Roberts and Clooney as BFF-status exes would soothe my brain?
Later in the interview, Roberts and Clooney pal around about dancing and kissing—they do both in Ticket to Paradise, spoiler alert!—and embarrassing their younger co-stars, Kaitlyn Dever and Maxime Bouttier. I know celebrities are adept at making themselves seem like charming, funny, down-to-earth individuals rather than lizards in skin suits, but I buy it! This is the za za zu-infused easy banter of two people who meet up once a month for steak and Scotch and industry gossip, but now I’m just flagrantly writing Roberts/Clooney fan fiction, so let’s move on. (I do feel like they have a monthly steak night, though. Don’t ask me why; I just feel it in my bones.)