GEORGE CLOONEY'S BIZARRE MARRIAGE & WACKY DIVORCE

Published on: December 21, 2001

No wonder George Clooney has become a confirmed bachelor -- his only marriage didn't last as long as the divorce wrangling!

Clooney wed actor Martin Balsam's daughter Talia on Dec. 15, 1989, and they separated 20 months later. But it took 25 months before the divorce decree became final in September 1993.

The couple fought long and hard in court over their community property -- including George's prize possession, a potbellied pig named Max.

"George wound up getting Max although Talia had become very fond of him," Talia's uncle, actor Dick Van Patten, told The ENQUIRER. "They fought over that -- it was like a child custody battle!

"George didn't treat Talia badly during the marriage. I remember he took her to Vegas for their honeymoon. But after they were wed he just decided, 'I guess I shouldn't have gotten married. I didn't know what this marriage business was like.'

"It was too confining for him."

At the time of the marriage, George, now 40, was a struggling actor who was "pursuing stardom with a vengeance, but Talia wanted a more traditional marriage so she was not at all that supportive," a close friend revealed.

"Over the course of their marriage, they continued to grow apart because they could not find a compromise. Eventually, George started getting better and better roles and people started to really notice him -- especially women.

"George and Talia began arguing more often because he wasn't home a lot, so they finally decided it would be best for both of them if they divorced.

"That's when things got really ugly. George was furious when Talia -- whose family had money -- insisted she get all the furniture and other household goods because as a struggling actor, it took him a long time to acquire those things."

In the end, Clooney got a baby grand piano, a 1959 Corvette, a 1983 Harley, a l988 Saab and a 1991 motor home, plus the money in four bank accounts, interests in partnerships, stocks and a Studio City house.

Talia got $95,000 in cash from George, her jewelry, some bank accounts and a 1988 Dodge.

Each was allowed to keep whatever "furniture, furnishings, artwork, antiques, fixtures, personal mementos, household equipment and appliances, crystal, china, flatware and linens currently in (their) possession," according to court papers.

Said the friend: "That whole experience didn't turn George off women, but it did turn him off to getting married again."

Even while he was married, George always acted very much like a single guy, say sources.

"I had no idea there was a Mrs. Clooney," said a waitress at Du-Par's restaurant, where Clooney was a fixture. "Nobody did.

"He was in here all the time with a group of buddies. He was the quintessential single guy."

And a former neighbor in Studio City disclosed: "We all remember the pig, but most people had no idea George was married.

"Some days he kept the pig in the yard outside. Some neighbors complained it smelled. It never bothered me. It just snorted at night sometimes.

"But as for his wife -- I never saw her. Then she was gone and he lived there with a few buddies."

Talia married actor John Slattery in 1998, and they live happily in New York City.

Said a New York pal: "Talia's husband is gorgeous, he makes her laugh. They're really connected. So I'd say she's done pretty well since George. I don't think she's crying over him at all."