George Clooney knew he wanted to marry his now-wife Amal after just three months of dating.
The 56-year-old actor - who famously vowed never to wed again following his short-lived union with actress Talia Balsam - first met the human rights lawyer in July 2013, and following weeks of correspondence, they had their first date in London in October 2013 before growing increasingly close over Christmas that year.
Their first date happened when George invited Amal to visit him at Abbey Road Studios, where he was supervising recording the score for his film 'Monuments Men'.
He recalled in an interview with the new issue of the Hollywood Reporter: "That was a good first date. Then we went for dinner. She said, 'Let's go to this place.' It was one of those places that was incredibly hip and chic. And when we came out, there were 50 paparazzi there. But she handled it like a champ. And pretty quickly, things escalated once I was in London...
"[Afterwards] we spent Christmas together in Cabo San Lucas. Then we went on a safari in Kenya. Amal loves giraffes; they're her favourite animal. She went to this place called Giraffe Manor, where the giraffes stick their heads through the windows and kiss you...
"I had a picture of her, looking back, smiling at these giraffes, and I said, 'I think I'm going to ask her to marry me.' "
The 'Suburbicon' filmmaker began meticulously planning his proposal, including buying a ring and putting together a playlist of music by his late aunt, the singer Rosemary Clooney, then popped the question over dinner at his house on April 28, 2014.
He said: "I'm the cook in the family. Believe me, Amal makes reservations. I did pasta of some form, not that impressive.
"And then over champagne, after dinner, I told her there was a lighter to light the candle in the drawer, and she reached back and pulled out a ring.
"And I did all the stuff, got down on my knee and did all the things you're supposed to do. I had a playlist with my Rosemary songs on it and I was waiting for this song, 'Why Shouldn't I?' 'Why shouldn't I take a chance when romance passes by? / Why shouldn't I know of love?' It's a really good song about why can't I be in love?
"And it played, and she's like, 'Holy s**t!' "
George then faced an agonising "20 minute" wait for Amal to say yes.
He added: "And she just kept staring at the ring, going, 'Oh, my God.' It was 20 minutes of me on my knee, waiting for her to say yes, because she was so shocked. She only said yes when 'Goody, Goody' came on, which isn't very romantic -- it's kind of mean: 'So you met someone who set you back on your heels, goody, goody.' "
While the 'Money Monster' actor couldn't be happier with Amal - who he went on to marry in September 2014, and had twins Alexander and Ella with in June this year - he does feel "sorry" they didn't get together sooner.
He said: "It changes you in every way that every person who's fallen madly in love changes. Suddenly, the other person's life becomes more important than your own. That's not unique to us; that's [unique to] all people who are lucky enough to find the perfect partner.
"I'm sorry I was 50-something when it happened, but only because I could have spent even more time with her."
Read the full interview with George at www.hollywoodreporter.com/features/at-home-george-clooney-italy-amal-twins-politics-an-incendiary-new-movie-1035363
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