USMagazine, Thursday, September 22, 2011, 4:12pm (PDT)
George Clooney has a reputation for pulling pranks on his pals, but in a new interview with Parade, the 50-year-old admits he's been on the receiving end, too.
"My friends are rough on me. Brad Pitt's brutal, and Matt Damon," Clooney says. "My friends used to change my outgoing phone message all the time. This was the old days, when you had a phone machine. They would change the message to something horrible and there was nothing I could do to change it back. That was always brilliant."
The actor -- currently dating former WWE diva Stacy Keibler -- says the best pranks require a lot of patience.
"You set a bit of a trap and then you watch it slowly unfold," Clooney explains. "I've had ones that have taken years."
One of Clooney's more elaborate set-ups included a painting he pulled out of the trash and put on an easel in his house.
"I convinced one of my best friends, [actor] Richard Kind, that I was painting. I bought some other pictures, I told him I was studying art. And then for his 40th birthday I gave him this horrible painting. He had to hang it on his wall, [it was by] his best friend! And for years people would come over -- everyone else knew it was out of the trash -- and go, 'That is a beautiful painting.'"
"He was convinced by the end that it was a beautiful painting," the Ides of March actor continues. "Until I did The Tonight Show, I think, and told the story and then I told him to watch the show. And he said, 'I hate that painting.'"
Though Clooney is happy to dish on his favorite practical jokes, there's one topic the actor won't talk about: his relationship with Keibler, 31.
"I don't tweet. I don't go on Facebook. I think there's too much information about all of us out there," he tells Parade. "I'm liking the idea of privacy more and more. There will be funny things, like I'll read something I've said about a woman somewhere. And I haven't spoken about my relationships in 15 years."