George Clooney Optimistic After Rough Year

ByABC News
September 28, 2005, 9:05 PM

Sept. 29, 2005 -- -- George Clooney has had a trying year, mainly due to a rare and debilitating health problem -- but he says he's confident he'll triumph in the end.

"Everybody has that year in their life when you age a decade ... But I'll whip it," the dashing actor told ABC News' Diane Sawyer in an exclusive interview at his palatial villa on Italy's Lake Como. "You know, I'm getting further and further along with it every day."

Earlier this month, the "Oceans Twelve" heartthrob revealed that he had a condition involving a torn dura mater, a membrane that covers the spinal cord, which caused him to suffer from headaches and short-term memory loss.

Clooney underwent numerous surgical procedures, and told Sawyer he is still experiencing residual effects. He said he has Post-It notes everywhere to help him remember. "I have to count when I walk up the stairs now," he said.

Clooney called the memory loss "a very interesting thing." He said, "As an actor, it's always fun because it really shakes your confidence. It's not permanent. It's bruised ... bruised brain so you have to sort of exercise it a little bit every once in a while."

But he added, "It's okay. All going to be fine."

About his headaches, Clooney said, "I still have them every day, but better, much less. And I stay away from as much of the medication as possible."

He said his health woes make his days and nights "much more of a challenge." He likened the pain and discomfort to lying in the bottom of a swimming pool and trying to breathe through a cocktail straw.

"It gets worse as the day goes on because it's positional," he said. "Your brain sort of pushes down further and further and further. Your spinal fluid pushes out. And as it sinks it sort of ... it starts to hurt when it starts to rest on your head."

Sawyer's interview with Clooney also marked the first time the actor allowed cameras inside his 15-bedroom Villa Oleandra. He gave a complete tour, from the kitchen to the master bedroom.