George Clooney Talks ‘ER’ After Sharing His Wife Amal Is Watching the Show

George and Amal Clooney - Premiere Of Hulu's Catch-22
Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Hulu

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that George Clooney wasn’t always the movie star he is today and that before he was an Oscar winner, the actor was a TV heartthrob on ER.

During a sitdown with Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett for their podcast Smartless, George opened up about his wife, Amal’s, ongoing viewing of the beloved medical drama. While many ER fans were taken with George’s Dr. Doug Ross, that’s not quite the case for Amal.

“My wife is watching them now,” Clooney began, “and it’s getting me in a lot of trouble cause I’ve forgotten all of the… terrible things I was doing picking up on women [in the show].” As fans of the series will recall, Doug’s primary romance was with Julianna Margulies‘ nurse Carol Hathaway, but the character was a notorious womanizer, as well.

Despite Amal’s lack of enthusiasm over her husband’s character, Bateman wondered aloud if she’ll get starstruck over George now. “Yeah, that’s not my wife,” the actor responded.

Clooney further elaborated on his experience with television, and revealed the reason why he’s transitioned to directing for the most part in the last few years.

“When you’re doing television, you’re doing 22 hours a year… it’s like doing 11 movies. You’re doing a lot of acting, and it’s fun to be involved, but… about 25 years ago I just started looking at it thinking, ‘I don’t want to worry about what some casting director thinks of how I’m aging.'”

George Clooney Doug Ross ER

NBC / Courtesy: Everett Collection

The actor did admit that his transition into film was made easier by more accepting industry attitudes than there were in the past.

“I was lucky in a way… there’s this weird pecking order you learn the minute you get into acting, into the industry, where it’s theater actors s**t all over the film actors, and the film actors s**t all over the television [actors]. A lot of that seems to have gone to the wayside.”

Early on in his ER days, George said, “the first question I was asked everyday was, ‘are you going to leave the show?’ And I wasn’t… things changed sort of drastically.”