Gillian Anderson on her 'slightly intimate' first meeting with Bill Clinton

While on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Gillian Anderson recalled the very memorable first time she met former US president Bill Clinton

Gillian Anderon meeting Bill Clinton
(Image credit: Alamy)

On an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! earlier this week, Gillian Anderson recounted the very first time she met former United States President Bill Clinton while he was running for office in the early 1990s. 

The 53-year-old actor got to talking about politics while promoting her new Showtime series, The First Lady, which looks at the life, career, and tribulations of a series of US first ladies. She will take on the role of Eleanor Roosevelt when the series premieres this Sunday night (Gillian even went bald to transform for the role!).

While on the late-night show, Gillian admitted that, although she has never come face-to-face with a first lady, she has shaken hands with a president once.

"I met him when he was running for office the first time. It was a lunch at somebody's fancy house in the Hollywood Hills," said Gillian, explaining that the politician was giving a speech to the room and folks lined up to meet him once he was done. 

"He did the most miraculous thing in the world. You know that thing that he does where he shakes your hand and then he grabs your elbow at the same time? He like holds your arm further up. Slightly intimate little thing, makes eye contact. And he moves on to the next person. Then he looks back at you," said the actress. 


The actor even demonstrated the former president's actions during her appearance, at which point Jimmy responded, "I got all that except the look back. I did not experience that." 

As the audience laughed, Gillian went on to recount her post-meeting feelings. "I went home, I thought—this was in the days of answering machines—I literally thought that I was going to go home to a message from him," she said. "I did. It was that real." 

Although the call never arrived, Gillian did admit to voting for the candidate soon after that.

Given the subject matter that Gillian's new show, The First Lady, takes on, we expect the actor to be discussing politics in future appearances as well. The 10-episode anthology drama series also stars Viola Davis as Michelle Obama (in the teaser trailer for the show, Viola looks identical to Michelle!), O.T. Fagbenle as Barack Obama, Michelle Pfeiffer and Aaron Eckhart as, respectively, Betty and Gerald Ford, and Kiefer Sutherland as Eleanor's husband Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Anna Rahmanan is a New York-based writer and editor who covers news, entertainment, lifestyle, culture, food, travel and more. Read more of her work at annabenyehuda.com.