George Clooney made nearly twice as much as The Rock last year — and he has tequila to thank

George Clooney and Rande Gerber, two of the three founders of the Casamigos tequila brand.

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George Clooney and Rande Gerber, two of the three founders of the Casamigos tequila brand.
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Courtesy Casamigos

  • George Clooney is the highest-paid male actor of 2018, according to Forbes, even though he didn’t appear in a film.
  • Instead, he has the $1 billion sale of his Casamigos tequila brand to thank for his $239 million paycheck.
  • That figure knocked the Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson into second place on Forbes’ 2018 list of highest-paid actors.
  • Read the story of how Casamigos was set up by accident.

George Clooney is the highest-paid male actor of 2018, according to Forbes, knocking Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson off the top spot – and he has tequila, rather than films, to thank.

Clooney, 57, earned $239 million from June 1, 2017, to June 1, 2018, to top Forbes’ list of highest-paid actors, even though he hasn’t been featured in a film since 2016’s “Money Monster.”

Instead, his position on the list is mostly thanks to the $1 billion sale of his tequila brand, Casamigos, to Diageo in June 2017, according to Forbes, as well as additional earnings from endorsements and older movies.

The actor and two friends founded Casamigos, one of the fastest-growing tequila brands in the world, in 2013. When Business Insider spoke to Rande Gerber, Clooney’s business partner, in March 2017, he said that the idea came about “by accident” and that money was never the reason for launching the brand.

In an email to CNBC in June 2017, Clooney said: “If you asked us four years ago if we had a billion-dollar company, I don’t think we would have said yes. This reflects Diageo’s belief in our company and our belief in Diageo. But we’re not going anywhere. We’ll still be very much a part of Casamigos. Starting with a shot tonight. Maybe two.”

Johnson came in second on Forbes’ list, banking $124 million in the same period, followed by Robert Downey Jr. at $81 million.

Here’s the full list of the 10 highest-paid male actors, who made $748.5 million combined over the past year.