George Clooney's Pig Lived in Hog Heaven

ByABC News
December 6, 2006, 10:09 PM

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 7, 2006 — -- A Hollywood heartthrob and a 300-pound Vietnamese potbellied pig make one of life's more unusual love affairs. Nevertheless, no woman has ever been able to hold George Clooney's affections for as long as his beloved Max, who lived with Clooney for 18 years before passing Friday from natural causes.

Max wasn't any old pig. Not only did he live until the ripe old age of 19, four years beyond the normal life expectancy for such creatures, but he also enjoyed the trappings of a close association with a movie star, occasionally being photographed hanging out on the set of his owner's latest movie.

After losing his pet bulldog Bud earlier in the year, Clooney sounded downcast about the news.

"It's strange how animals become a big part of your family," the star told USA Today. "They really become a big issue with you."

Max had a brush with death back in 2001 when Clooney's friend Tommy Hinkley accidentally ran him over. A black pig on a dark night does not mix well with a reversing car, but like a true Hollywood superhero, Max made a full recovery and was back to his best within no time.

"He's eating his way through life," Clooney said of Max during one post-collision interview. "I'd put him on a diet, but he screams like hell if he's not able to stuff himself the way he likes it."

Celebrities and their odd choice of pets are nothing new. Elvis Presley had a monkey called Scatter, while Michael Jackson decided Bubbles was an apt name for his chimpanzee.

The pets, however, don't always reciprocate their celebrity owner's love. Paris Hilton was made to squeal after being bitten on the arm by Baby Luv, her pet kinkajou, and needed a trip to the ER.

Hilton excluded, the marriage between superstar and super-pet is usually harmonious.

"Animals exhibit genuine empathy," psychologist Stephen Madigan told ABC News. "They have emotions and are faithful companions who are always happy to see you when you get home.

"Additionally you don't have to worry about them clearing out your checking account or messing up your life," Madigan joked.