George Clooney reveals he had Bell’s palsy as a teenager

George Clooney has opened up about suffering from Bell’s palsy as a teenager.

On Thursday (27 January), the Oscar winner appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! alongside rapper Snoop Dogg, where he spoke about being diagnosed with the facial paralysis condition when he was younger.

During the 20th anniversary episode, the late night talk show host pointed out that Clooney happened to be his first guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live! when it premiered in 2003. While taking a walk down memory lane, Kimmel shared some throwback photos of Clooney from when he was a young teen.

"George, we happen to have some pictures of you from, this was a little before high school," Kimmel said, as he showed the audience the first photo of a 13-year-old Clooney wearing a bowl-cut and glasses.

The Ocean’s Eleven actor jokingly pointed out that his mother was responsible for the embarrassing haircut. Kimmel then flashed another photo of Clooney at 15, this time sporting what appeared to be a slanted smile.

But before Kimmel could crack a joke at Clooney’s appearance, the Ticket To Paradise star pointed out his facial paralysis.

“Now wait, I want to point out something because you’re going to laugh, you’re gonna make a joke. I have Bell’s palsy there and half of my face is paralysed. Look at this, watch this,” Clooney said, as he covered half of his face in the portrait with his hand. “If you go like this, on the other side, it’s a completely different face. So now make your joke. Come on, funny man. Come on, let me give you my sad face.”

George Clooney points out his facial paralysis on Jimmy Kimmel Live! (YouTube / Jimmy Kimmel Live!)
George Clooney points out his facial paralysis on Jimmy Kimmel Live! (YouTube / Jimmy Kimmel Live!)

Kimmel sarcastically responded, “You know what? I didn’t have a joke, George, and you really brought everybody down,” while the crowd erupted into laughter.

Bell’s palsy, also known as idiopathic facial paralysis, is a condition that causes sudden weakness in muscles on one side of the face, according to the Mayo Clinic. In most cases, facial paralysis is temporary and improves over time.

Symptoms of the facial paralysis condition include a rapid onset of mild to total paralysis on one side of the face, facial droop and difficulty making facial expressions, drooling, pain around the jaw, headache, loss of taste, and changes in the amount of tears and saliva produced.

While Bell’s palsy can occur at any age, the exact cause is unknown. However, experts believe the condition can be caused by swelling and inflammation of the nerve that controls the muscles on one side of the face.

George Clooney isn’t the only celebrity who suffered from Bell’s palsy. In 2017, Angelina Jolie revealed she was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy during a “difficult year” following her split from ex-husband Brad Pitt.

The Maleficent star shared in a Vanity Fair cover story that due to the stress from her family and relationship issues, she developed facial paralysis.

"Sometimes women who have families put themselves last, until it manifests itself in their own health," she said at the time. The actor, now 47, has credited acupuncture with helping her make a full recovery.