Meet the family Courteney - and the charm of an Irish mammy
SHE may be a Hollywood A-lister but it was somewhat gratifying to learn this week that Friends star, Courteney Cox, is not immune to the charms (or curse - take your pick) of the Irish mammy-in-law.
Or the Irish sisters-in-law. Or the excitable locals.
Courtney flew into Derry this week accompanied by ten-year-old Coco, her daughter with ex-husband David Arquette, to meet the family of her rock star fiance, Johnny McDaid (38) of Snow Patrol fame.
A great time was had by all, if the reports are to be believed, with the starlet graciously posing for photographs all over the city, while being bestowed with special gifts when out shopping.
She also hung out with Johnny's sisters, another vital victory. We all know a fella's sisters can be lethal!
Johnny's mammy Pauline must have been thrilled when a local jeweller presented the couple with special Derry-made rings, plus earrings for Coco.
The snaps made the shop's Facebook page, which is almost as good in terms of local cachet as having it in the parish bulletin.
That's all lovely, of course, but the part that amused me was where Pauline brought the stars with her on a visit to her local pharmacy, Bradley's, in Culmore, Co Derry.
Maybe Courteney had a mysterious rash, or perhaps she had a fungal nail infection, but I suspect the real reason that she popped up in the local chemist was an exercise in ensuring that the star-studded future daughter-in-law was spotted with the mammy at the epicentre of the community.
"Pauline is a regular customer at Bradley's and she was so proud of Courteney and Johnny, she wanted to show them off to everyone," an insider said.
"She's so happy to have them home that she's been introducing them to everyone."
In one way you can understand the mammy's thinking. After all when her son rocked off to tour the world with a rock band it probably barely caused a ripple down at the bingo.
One can almost imagine the blank faces as his frustrated old mum tried to explain who Snow Patrol are.
But Courteney Cox is a different matter altogether. There is hardly a woman over 30 in the land who wouldn't recognise Monica from Friends at a hundred paces.
Having her as a daughter-in-law raises all sorts of thrilling possibilities about the superstars who might grace the wedding invitation list.
Joey Tribbiani, Phoebe Buffay and Rachel Green would definitely trump Johnny's grungey rocker mates.
Parochial and slightly mortifying as it probably was, Courteney can thank her lucky stars that her future mother-in-law seems delighted with the match.
With her being 12 years older than her fiance, a daughter in tow, and a divorce and her child-bearing years (presumably) behind her, any self-respecting Irish mammy would feel justified in getting slightly sniffy about a prospective union.
After all, we all know what happens when our boys' mothers don't approve. Many moons ago, I dated a guy whose mother detested me on sight. She would glare balefully at me as I desperately tried to make conversation with her, and would then fling herself on her knees in front of the "altar" in the corner of the room.
As she continued to cast filthy looks in my direction it was quite clear that this very holy woman wasn't offering up prayers for my continued good health.
Instead of telling the old wagon where to get off, I swallowed my pride and tried my best to win her over (unsuccessfully I might add).
On that basis Courtney Cox can thank her lucky stars that her new in-laws are only in danger of killing her with kindness.