If there's one couple guaranteed to get you feeling ready for Valentine's Day, it's George Clooney and Amal Clooney. From their exquisite red carpet appearances together to their adoring words about each other, theirs is a love that never fails to inspire.
In fact, the Hello! reader survey we conducted in late 2019 shows that George, 58, and Amal, 41, are the most popular celebrity couple of all, winning almost 70 per cent of total votes!
So what is it that makes their love story so endearing to Canadians – and the rest of the world?
Perhaps it's that it happened against all odds.
Back in 2013, George was an Oscar-winning movie idol who appeared to relish his title as the world's most eligible bachelor. Lebanese-born British human rights lawyer Amal, meanwhile, was too busy blazing a trail in her career to ever crave a place in the celebrity spotlight.
What brought them together was a chance encounter in George's own home.
"It was the wildest thing," he would later tell talk show host David Letterman of that fateful evening. "A mutual friend of ours said, 'I'm stopping by and I can bring a friend?' And I was like, 'Of course.'"
Confirming that love at first sight does indeed exist, the Money Monster star was instantly smitten.
"Of course, she was beautiful," he said. "But I also thought she was fascinating and I thought she was brilliant. Her life was incredibly exciting – the clients she was taking on and the super-human work that she was doing. I was taken with her from the moment I saw her."
After exchanging email addresses at the end of the evening, the pair continued to talk online. Even through a computer screen, the chemistry was undeniable.
Sealing their future
Over the next 12 months, George and Amal's whirlwind courtship saw them jet off on romantic getaways together, including an African safari that inspired the then 52-year-old star to propose.
"Some giraffes walked up to her," he later told Vogue. "They just came out of the blue. I took a picture of her, and she was smiling. I said to my buddy Ben, 'You know, I think I should ask her to marry me.' And Ben said, 'I think that's a good idea.'"
The casual, yet heartfelt, proposal came over after-dinner champagne on April 28, 2014.
"I told her there was a lighter to light the candle in the drawer, and she reached back and pulled out a ring!" he gushed to The Hollywood Reporter.
Getting down on one knee, the director and filmmaker presented his love with a seven-carat diamond sparkler.
Exchanging vows in the world's most romantic city just five months later, George and Amal said "I do" at the spectacular Aman Canal Grande Venice hotel on Sept. 27, little more than a year after they first met. Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Bono, Emily Blunt and Cindy Crawford were among the armada of A-listers who acted as witnesses to the beautiful occasion.
Covering the nuptials exclusively in Hello!, we asked George how it feels to be a married man, to which he replied, grinning, "It feels pretty damn great!"
Party of four
While having children wasn't on their agenda at first, George and Amal changed their minds after getting married.
"After the wedding, Amal and I were talking and we just felt we'd gotten very lucky, both of us, and we should share whatever good luck we've got," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "It would seem self-centred to just have that belong to us."
On June 6, 2017, the couple's lives changed forever as they welcomed twins Ella and Alexander into the world.
Now aged two, the adorable tots have very distinct personalities.
"[Alexander] is a thug, already," George joked to Entertainment Tonight at the Venice Film Festival in 2017. "He's a moose! Literally, he just sits and he eats."
As for Ella, the proud dad revealed: "She's very elegant, and all eyes. She looks like Amal, thank God."
While Amal usually chooses to live her life out of the spotlight, the talented lawyer made an exception to honour her husband with an emotive speech when he received the American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award in 2018.
"He is a gentleman in every sense of the word and in a way that seems so rare these days and perhaps even outdated," she said, praising George's famous generosity and kindness, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "My love, what I have found with you is the great love I always hoped existed. And seeing you with our children, Ella and Alexander, is the greatest joy in my life. You fill our home with laughter and happiness, and that's even before the children have worked out that 'Da-da' is actually Batman, a talking fox, and friends with Mary Poppins. I'm so proud of you, my love."
Part of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's inner circle, George and Amal have hosted the royal couple at their Italian villa on Lake Como, and were among the esteemed guests at Archie's christening last July.
And while this power couple seemingly has it all, it seems a good sense of humour is the secret to success.
"The only way we resolve anything is by arm wrestling," George joked to News.com.au in 2015. "That is my only chance of winning anything with her – because if it's an intellectual battle, I would lose. She's the smart one in the family."