BBC LOS ANGELES - Being friends with George Clooney is probably cool enough. Now it’s been revealed he’s given $1 million to each of his 14 best pals to thank them for helping him. Rande Gerber, who has been close to the actor for years, told MSNBC’s Headliners that George did it as a surprise in 2013. “It was really important to me that while we’re still all here together, that I give back,” he recalls the star saying.

“There’s a group of guys that we call ‘The Boys’. George had called me and The Boys and said ‘Hey, mark 27 September, 2013, on your calendar.

“‘Everyone’s going to come to my house for dinner’,” says Rande, an entertainment businessman.

He says that when the group arrived at George’s house, they found suitcases at their places at the table.

“George begins to say ‘Listen, I want you guys to know how much you’ve meant to me and how much you mean to me in my life. “I came to L.A., I slept on your couch. I’m so fortunate in my life to have all of you and I couldn’t be where I am today without all of you’.”

When the men opened the suitcases, Rande says, each found $1 million (around £750,000) in $20 notes.

“Every one of us, 14 of us, got a million dollars. Every single one of us. We’re in shock. Like ‘What is this?’

“He goes ‘I know we’ve all been through some hard times, some of you are still going through it. “‘You don’t have to worry about your kids, you don’t have to worry about, you know, school, you don’t have to worry about paying your mortgage’.” He claims that as well as giving money to the group, George also paid off their taxes for the year.

“One was working at a bar in Texas at the airport, trying just to support his family, rides a bicycle to work every day,” he explains. “I mean these are guys that took care of George and now he’s giving it all back.” Rande says George refused to take no for an answer when he tried to turn down the offer.

The Sunday Times Rich List put the joint wealth of the actor and and his wife Amal at £121 million in 2015.

It’s likely to have risen a lot since then because of the 56-year-old’s business deals. Earlier this year he sold his tequila brand Casamigos, co-founded with Rande, for almost $1bn.