'I've had the time of my life, and I owe it all to Berlusconi', says George
George Clooney has spoken publicly for the first time about meeting Silvio Berlusconi, describing the encounter as "one of the more astonishing evenings of my life."
'I've had one evening with Berlusconi and it was one of the more astonishing evenings of my life,' Mr Clooney told the website of Time magazine in a video interview.
The Hollywood star said he went to Rome in 2008 to talk to the prime minister about the possibility of Italy sending helicopters to Darfur in Sudan to help with the relief effort.
But Mr Berlusconi, 75, was more interested in inviting him to a party and showing him a double bed which Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister, gave him as a present.
"I've had one evening with Berlusconi and it was one of the more astonishing evenings of my life," Mr Clooney told the website of Time magazine in a video interview.
"I went to speak about Darfur. I'd done all my homework. (Afterwards) he took me to see his bedroom and the bed that Putin had given him.
"There are so many jokes, there's so little time," he said, to laughter from the audience.
"It became a very different evening than anyone thought. I was like 'I have to go' and he was saying 'No where are you going, there's going to be a party', and I was like, 'No I gotta go, I really do."
The prime minister's lawyers want Mr Clooney to appear as a witness in Mr Berlusconi's ongoing trial for abuse of office and paying for sex with an under age prostitute.
They want the star to refute claims by the teenager, an exotic nightclub dancer whose nickname is Ruby the Heart Stealer, that he was at one of the premier's "bunga bunga" sex parties in Milan. Mr Berlusconi has denied all charges related to the case.
Mr Clooney, who owns a mansion on the shores of Lake Como in northern Italy, said he has never attended one of the parties and would be happy to give evidence on behalf of the prime minister.
"I spoke to their people and said, 'I will come and testify if you'd like,' because I wasn't at the party that I was said to have been at."
Mr Berlusconi came under fire yet again yesterday when he joked that he could revive his People of Freedom party's flagging popularity by changing its name to a slang Italian word for female genitalia.
Aldo Di Biagio, an opposition MP, criticised the joke as vulgar and offensive.