VENICE, Italy — George Clooney vowed he would never marry again, giving hope to millions of women that they one day might get their chance at romance with Hollywood’s most eligible bachelor.
And for more than two decades, Clooney’s love life has been tabloid fodder as he carried on romances with a series of models and actresses, a cocktail waitress, an Italian starlet and a former professional wrestler — before meeting his match in human rights lawyer Alma Alamuddin.
Less than five months after their engagement was announced, the couple is marrying this weekend in a celebrity-studded wedding extravaganza in Venice, one of the world’s most romantic settings.
Clooney and Alamuddin arrived in Venice by bus on Friday accompanied by a small group of guests who included the groom’s parents, as well as Cindy Crawford and her husband. A clutch of photographers greeted them, and the couple obliged with smiles and poses.
They were met by Clooney’s regular water-taxi driver, who piloted the group down the scenic route along the picturesque Grand Canal lined by stunning palazzi, including the one where the couple is to be married in a civil ceremony on Monday.
Clooney and his bride stood outside during the water-taxi ride, his arm comfortably around her as they were conveyed along the most famous of Venice’s canals on a boat fittingly named ‘‘Amore.” He waved to well-wishers as they passed under the famed Rialto Bridge.
The water journey ended at the luxury Cipriani Hotel, Clooney’s usual residence when in Venice, on an island opposite St. Mark’s Square.
Venice city officials have announced the closure of a 50-meter (yard) length of pedestrian way along the Grand Canal where the 16th-century Cavalli Palace is located for two hours on Monday for the Clooney nuptials. Media have speculated that the couple will have two ceremonies — one on Saturday followed by a civil ceremony Monday.
The arrival of other celebrities in Venice on Friday indicated star-studded festivities were in the making. Those spotted included Clooney’s cousin Miguel Ferrer, Matt Damon, Ellen Barkin, Anna Wintour and Richard Kind. — AP