Film star George Clooney marries in Venice

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Media captionGeorge Clooney and his wife, Amal Alamuddin, took to Venice's canals on Sunday

Hollywood star George Clooney has married human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin in Venice, in one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the showbusiness year.

A host of fellow stars descended on the Italian city's canals for the union between the film world's most eligible bachelor, 53, and Ms Alamuddin, 36.

The ceremony was celebrated in a hotel overlooking the famous Grand Canal.

Clooney's agent broke the news to journalists in a brief statement.

According to AP news agency, that will be the only communication on the wedding.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Amal Alamuddin arriving in Venice on Friday
Image copyright AP
Image caption Clooney with his then-fiancee on Friday in Venice

Clooney and his friends had sipped champagne before gliding up the Grand Canal on Saturday evening to the luxury Aman Hotel, waving to hundreds of well-wishers.

Guests include Cindy Crawford, Bill Murray, Matt Damon and the U2 singer Bono.

Clooney's boat was momentarily blocked by a passing cruise liner and then by a water bus, giving time for dozens of boats carrying photographers to catch up, AP writes.

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Media captionGeorge Clooney waves as he travels to the wedding
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Image caption Bill Murray was among the guests
Image copyright AP
Image caption So was Matt Damon
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Image caption A wave from US model Cindy Crawford (L), flanked by her husband, businessman Rande Gerber
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Image caption Bono (in dark glasses) joked with a concierge as he boarded his taxi boat

A police boat swerved in vain to try to keep the paparazzi away.

Ms Alamuddin was last seen publicly on Friday riding in a water taxi down the Grand Canal with Clooney's arm round her.

Assange defender

The couple were engaged in April.

Clooney was previously married to Talia Balsam, who he divorced in 1993.

One of the world's most recognisable actors, the American has two Oscars to his name: for best supporting actor in Syriana (2006) and for best picture as producer of Argo (2013).

Other than his film work, he has embraced human rights causes such as the Darfur crisis in Sudan.

Lebanese-born British lawyer Amal Alamuddin has defended Julian Assange of Wikileaks and former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko among others.

She met Clooney through her work.

People in her native village in Lebanon, Baakline in the Chouf district, welcomed news of her impending marriage, AP reports.

"We congratulate them and we hope that the happiness will be international," said shopkeeper Ghassan Bou Hatoum.

The couple's choice of Venice for the wedding is apt as Clooney is a frequent visitor to its film festival. He also owns a villa on Lake Como, north of Milan.

Despite the long build-up to the wedding, interest still abounded on social media at news of the knot being tied.

"George Clooney is married," wrote one tweeter. "Heterosexual men of earth release a collective sigh of relief. Everyone else mourns."

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