Amal Alamuddin: five facts about George Clooney's fiancee

Apr 29, 2014

Has the Hollywood actor 'bitten off more than he can chew' with British human rights barrister?


GEORGE CLOONEY'S bachelor days have come to an end with the news that he will marry British human-rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin.

After his divorce from Talia Balsam in 1993, the 52-year-old actor promised he would never marry again, describing himself as a "lousy husband". But he has since whisked 36-year-old Alamuddin around the world, to the Seychelles, Tanzania and even the White House, proposing at some point along the way.

His mother Nina, who confirmed the news, says she "couldn't be happier for them", but some commentators – such as Robert Crampton in The Times – are wondering if he has "bitten off more than he can chew".

Here are five things you might not know about Amal Alamuddin:

She is a successful lawyer
Alamuddin holds law degrees from Oxford University and New York University and speaks fluent French, English and Arabic. After practicing for several years at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP's New York office, she is now based in London at the Doughty Street Chambers, a prestigious human rights set. She is also a published author.

She has represented Julian Assange
Alamuddin represented Wikileaks founder Julian Assange during his extradition proceedings in the UK. He told the Evening Standard this week: "Amal is a friend and a lawyer with a global perspective who is not afraid to deal with corruption of power or to tackle politicised cases." She has also represented the former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko before the European Court of Human Rights and has worked as a legal advisor to the King of Bahrain.

Her family escaped from war-torn Beirut
Alamuddin's family came over to England and settled in Buckinghamshire after escaping from war-torn Beirut when she was young. Her mother Baria is the foreign editor of Al Hayat newspaper, which has its headquarters in London, and has interviewed numerous heads of state including Tony Blair, Bill Clinton and Fidel Castro. Her father, Ramzi, is a retired professor of business studies at the American University of Beirut.

She served as counsel to Kofi Annan in Syria
Alamuddin has served as counsel to Kofi Annan, the former secretary-general of the United Nations, when he was working as the UN special envoy in Syria. She is also the legal adviser to the head of the UN commission investigating the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafic Hariri and other terrorist attacks in Lebanon.

She has a 'strong moral compass'
Clooney, who has tried to raise awareness about the conflicts in Darfur, apparently bonded with Alamuddin over their mutual interest in human rights. One of Alamuddin's colleagues told the Standard she has an "incredibly strong moral compass", while a university friend told the New York Post that her nickname at Oxford was "Just Cause" because of her passion for civil rights.

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