'I just wanted to say you, my love, like this city, take my breath away,' Amal said of George at the event in Venice on Thursday
Amal, 45, a human rights lawyer and activist, was among the group of women to receive the DVF Leadership Award during the ceremony, hosted by fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg at the Venice International Film Festival.
While accepting the honor — recognizing her work in advocating for victims of abuses worldwide — Amal dedicated a part of her speech to George, 62, who was there to support her throughout the night. The two arrived hand in hand wearing glamorous outfits, she in a Christian Dior by John Galliano pink lace gown and he in a black suit.
“I am here in Venice with my husband; he is a rising star,” Amal joked to the crowd in attendance before going on to share a story of what the city means to them as a couple.
“Venice is the place where almost nine years ago we were married," she said. "As we sailed through the city in the last two days, I thought how incredibly lucky I am because somehow our incredibly different worlds collided one day 10 years ago in Lake Como. I just think about the millions of things that had to happen in both of our lives to bring us to that moment and how grateful I am for that luck, my love.”
She continued: “I just wanted to say, you, my love, like this city, take my breath away and you make our lives magical. It is sometimes hard to believe you exist, so thank you for being the brightest light in my life.”
Giuseppe Fantasia, an Italian film and art critic in attendance, tells PEOPLE the two were “very affectionate with each other" during the night.
While accepting her award, Amal shared a message of hope from the late former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who “once said it’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness and in this room I see so many people who are shining their light.”
Amal also spotlighted her friend Maria Ressa, a Filipino-American journalist who has faced backlash and accusations and was convicted of cyber libel in the Philippines in her fight against dismantling disinformation in the press, as reported by The New York Times.
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George and Amal have been spotted on multiple occasions enjoying Venice in style.
On Aug. 29, the two touched down in the city outfitted in coordinating ensembles, Amal clad in a floral-print shift dress and slingback heels and George keeping things cool and casual in seersucker pants and a navy blue collared shirt.
They were then seen dining at a local hotspot, Ristorante Da Ivo dressed in cocktail attire. And after a night of mingling and celebration at the DVF Awards, the pair stepped out in matching black outfits as they brought their Venice trip to a close.
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