The medical condition George Clooney is living with due to an accident on set

George Clooney is an Oscar winner, director and one of Hollywood’s leading men. He first showed his action-adventure side as Batman in the 1997 film Batman & Robin. While it’s the only film role that Clooney regrets, he has shown he can handle fight scenes and other physically demanding aspects of filmmaking. But while he played a superhero on the big screen, in real life Clooney is not invincible and has sustained multiple injuries.

Clooney was in a motorcycle accident in 2018 after colliding with the windshield of another vehicle while working on the television series Catch-22 in Sardinia, Italy. The actor suffered only minor injuries in the accident, BBC reported, but it was a shocking scene. Clooney recalls flying over the handlebars at an estimated speed of 75 mph. As people surrounded the actor and filmed the scary scene, Clooney recalled thinking the worst was about to happen. “I’ve been waiting for my switch to turn off,” he told the Sunday Times.

This shocking accident wasn’t Clooney’s worst accident. In fact, behind that golden smile is a painful condition that George Clooney lives with to this day.

A simple fall proved devastating for George Clooney

Robert Ebert described George Clooney’s film Syriana as “an endlessly fascinating film” in his 2005 review. Critics hailed the performance and Clooney won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor while beating stiff competition from Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain. The award came at a price, as Clooney was seriously injured while filming.

For a scene in “Syriana,” Clooney was sitting in a chair when someone knocked him over. Instead of a controlled fall, Clooney hit his head and injured the tissue around his spinal cord, called the dura mater. “I basically hurt my brain. It’s bouncing around my head because it’s not being supported by the spinal fluid,” Clooney told The Guardian. The effects of the fall caused Clooney to suffer from constant headaches.

The actor spoke openly about the traumatic injury. “Before the surgery, it was the most unbearable pain I’ve ever been through, literally where you would go, ‘Well, you’ve got to kill yourself sometime, you can’t live like that,'” he recalled. He struggled in the aftermath and “spent three or four months really taking painkillers,” he told GQ in 2020. Though he continues to be honored for his acting and community service, Clooney admitted he’s now in chronic pain as a result lives the accident, per The Hollywood Reporter.