George Clooney has set the record straight.
Just after midnight Wednesday, USA Today published an op-ed from the actor challenging a recent Daily Mail article. Citing unnamed sources, the British tabloid claimed Clooney's future mother-in-law is opposed to his upcoming marriage to human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin due to her religious beliefs.
The two-time Oscar winner—who refers to Alamuddin as his fiancée for the first time in print—wrote that according to The Daily Mail, "Amal's mother has been telling 'half of Beirut' that she's against the wedding. It says they joke about traditions in the Druze religion that end up with the death of the bride."
"Let me repeat that: the death of the bride."
"First of all, none of the story is factually true. Amal's mother is not Druze," Clooney wrote. "She has not been to Beirut since Amal and I have been dating, and she is in no way against the marriage—but none of that is the issue." Clooney is used to being a tabloid target. "If they fabricate stories of Amal being pregnant, or that the marriage will take place on the set of Downton Abbey, or that I'm running for office, or any number of idiotic stories that they sit at their computers and invent, I don't care," he said.
Why did Clooney decide to respond to this rumor in particular? "The irresponsibility, in this day and age, to exploit religious differences where none exist, is at the very least negligent and more appropriately dangerous," the 53-year-old actor said. "We have family members all over the world, and the idea that someone would inflame any part of that world for the sole reason of selling papers should be criminal."
As the son of a newsman, Clooney understands that aspects of his private life will be made public. When multiple media outlets pick up untruths like those in The Daily Mail's story, however, he gets irritated.
"The Daily Mail, more than any other organization that calls itself news, has proved time and time again that facts make no difference in the articles they make up," said the Emmy winner, whose rep denied he was dating Alamuddin last fall. "And when they put my family and my friends in harm's way, they cross far beyond just a laughable tabloid and into the arena of inciting violence. They must be so very proud."