Actress Jane Fonda, who may never live down her visit to Hanoi during the Vietnam War, told a shocking story about Russian President Vladimir Putin when she was a guest Thursday on a socially distanced episode of the Bravo cable network show "Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen."
If you've never seen Cohen's chat show, understand that he invites artists and influential people, then completely ignores the talents and accomplishments that made them famous in the first place. Andy wants them to dish on other celebrities and give up choice gossip.
Cohen got Fonda to tell an elaborate story about meeting Kim Kardashian after inadvertently staring at her behind at a Clive Davis Grammy party. She gave up a story about skinny-dipping with Michael Jackson. She admitted she'd go on Megyn Kelly's podcast and revealed that Alfred Hitchcock once gave her an audition and hated her acting.
The biggest shock, however, came from her story about meeting Putin. In the early 1990s, she traveled to Leningrad with then-husband Ted Turner for the Goodwill Games, the Olympics alternative he started after the U.S. boycotted the 1980 summer games in Moscow.
Weird but true: President Jimmy Carter initiated the boycott in protest after the USSR invaded a small Central Asian country called Afghanistan.
When asked whether she'd ever met a dictator, Fonda pointed at the image of Vlad and said, "This guy was our travel guide. … We landed at the airport, and the person who picked us up and drove us around was Vladimir Putin. He was the travel guide. He was like our interpreter at the time."
In the early '90s, Putin had resigned from the KGB and taken a position as head of the Committee for External Relations in the Leningrad mayor's office, so it makes sense that he'd be the apparatchik tasked with squiring the celebrity couple around town.
Fonda says Putin's focus and ruthless nature was apparent even then. "His wife had gotten sick, and she was heading to the hospital. He told us that in the car and Ted said, 'You have to go to the hospital. You have to go to the hospital to check on your wife,' and he wouldn't. Vladimir Putin wouldn't do it. He stayed with us."
Cohen, stirring the pot, shot back, "He probably poisoned her, knowing him."
Fonda didn't bring it up, but wouldn't an ace intelligence officer be assigned to watch over a pair of potential loose cannons? Turner was just as controversial as his wife, although for far less unpatriotic reasons. Jane never had a problem speaking what she thought was truth to power, and here they were, running loose in what had been a closed society.
What other stories does Fonda have to tell? We'll keep monitoring and report back to you so that our veteran community can tell us what it all means.
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