Martin McGuinness has revealed his surprise the day he walked into his Derry home after Sunday mass and found Jane Fonda sitting at the kitchen table.
Northern Ireland’s deputy First Minister has recalled how Fonda arrived in Ulster at the height of the Troubles in 1976.
The Hollywood legend surprised the former IRA man with her visit during a holiday in Ireland with her then husband Tom Hayden.
McGuinness returned from Mass to his Bogside home to find the actress sitting in his kitchen with his wife and eldest child Aine.
The family showed Fonda around Derry and made them Sunday dinner according to McGuinness.
The Sunday Independent reports on McGuinness’ revelations in an interview with Irish state broadcaster RTE.
He said: “They stayed with us all day. It was clear she had a real interest in what was going on.”
McGuinness and Fonda became unlikely friends after the visit with the actress sending him a box of baby clothes from America after the birth of his third child.
The Sinn Fein politician also told of the shock for his parents when a local priest arrived at their Derry home to tell them their son had been searching for parts to make ‘destructive devices’.
The report says that to pacify the situation, McGuinness was despatched to his grandmother’s house in Buncrana.
He said: “They were horrified with the news. My parents were very religious people and their primary concern was always my safety.
“They knew people from outside the family were aware me and my friends had been looking for substances to use against the police. But they understood the circum-stances.”
He added that after his father’s death in 1973, his mother continued to be very supportive of all his endeavours. “She was a Republican in her own right,” he said.
Recalling his paramilitary involvement in the 1970s, McGuinness said: “The fact Derry was an occupied city in the 1970s had a profound effect on me and led me into politics.”
RTE presenter Marian Finucane reminded McGuinness that he had previously claimed problems in the North would ‘never be solved with votes but with military activity’.
McGuinness responded: “At the time, that was what I believed.”