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Revealed: my secret crush

Who do you privately fancy?

Gráinne McCarry asked some well-known faces to 'fess up to their, er, sometimes rather surprising love interests

'My friends tease me about Johnny'

Author and columnist Martina Devlin is from Omagh, but now lives in Dublin. She says:

I've always had a thing for pirates and smugglers, but there's was never much opportunity to meet them in Omagh! I also have a massive, massive crush on Johnny Depp (above) and it so happens that he played the role of a pirate in the Pirates of the Caribbean films. My friends tease me about it.

Sometimes, I fantasise that I write a book that's made into a film and Johnny Depp plays the main character in it. He was on my mind when I wrote my last book Ship Of Dreams. I created one of the characters, a French man called Louis, with him in mind.

He has a track record of dating beautiful women and I'm saying 'I don't know what Vanessa Paradis (his partner) has that I don't have!'

As a child, I developed an enormous crush on Just William. I have this memory of watching the TV show at teatime on a Sunday evening along with other kids' shows like Black Beauty and Children of the New Forest.

It wasn't the actor I liked, it was the character he played. I loved him because he was so mischievous and was always getting himself into trouble. I think he reminded me of myself as no matter how hard I tried to keep myself clean I was always getting dirty. He was always covered in mud and I seemed to be permanently covered in tar. I used to sit on the kerb reading my books and the tar would get all over my frocks and on my legs.

There was a character in the Just William books called Violet Elizabeth Bott. She was always throwing herself at him — I'm sure we all know a woman like that in real life.

Violet was just perfect and was always pestering him to play with her.

Her socks were always pure white and her dresses clean. She was so annoying he had no time for her — much to my relief!

It's probably just as well that we never get to meet our heroes as the reality can never live up to the fantasy. It's very rare that they would match our expectations!"

'John was so charismatic'

Author Anne Dunlop, originally from Magherafelt, now lives in Bahrain with husband Nick and children, Maud (7), Rex (6), Florence (5) and Beatrice (4). She says:

The people I tend to have crushes on are not necessarily physically attractive, but they are passionate about something and it's the passion within them that draws me to them.

I read a book called One Hundred Years of Solitude by the writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

I was completely enthralled with his writing and I realised that I didn't know the first thing about him. So, I Googled him because I was completely in love with his writing.

Now, what can I tell you about him? He won the Nobel Prize for Literature about 20 years ago. He's about 80 years old with a big moustache. He writes so well, his words are so passionate and witty. I thought, if he expresses himself like that what he's like in real life?

The books that I write tend to be quite passionate and romantic — I'm not like that in real life. I'm a mum of four and I have my hands full!

I once went to a poetry reading by John Kelly, the RTE presenter. It was probably 12 or 13 years ago and what a crush I had on him afterwards! He read a poem called Yeats on the Bus to Enniskillen or something like that. I absolutely fell in love with the poem and I had a huge crush on him for about a month afterwards. I'd never met a TV character in the flesh before, and I found him completely charismatic.

My other crush is the composer Beethoven because I love the Moonlight Sonata. It's such a passionate piece of music. It's a bit strange I suppose, having a crush on someone who isn't even alive. I do wonder what it would have been like to meet him.

I also love the song Dancing In The Moonlight by Thin Lizzy.

Although since I thought Phil Lynott was quite good-looking I couldn't really describe him as a geeky crush! It was his music that I liked the most! "

'I quite fancied Tory Edwina'

Downtown DJ Dougi Marshall lives in Belfast. He says:

As a child I liked the actress Jenny Agutter, who appeared in the film version of The Railway Children. She was playing one of the children, a character younger than herself. It was a very prim and proper role and, to be honest, fancying her was the equivalent of fancying Julie Andrews when she played a nun in The Sound of Music.

I remember watching the film as a young boy, thinking that Agutter was cute. In real life, I would never have admitted it though.

Then, in later years, she appeared in the sci-fi film, Logan's Run, and played roles more suited to her age. She became quite a sex symbol.

My other crush was former Tory Health minister Edwina Currie, especially around the time that she resigned.

I can recall thinking there was something very attractive about her but, again, I would never have admitted to it. I ended up interviewing her four or five years ago and she was not at all like her political persona.

She was more of an extrovert than I had imagined and she was an incredibly frisky interviewee, very feisty and flighty — not at all like the serious, straight-laced persona she had as a politician.

Having said that, anyone in political office is tied to their position. Once she left her position, more of her own personality came through.

And when it emerged that she'd been having an affair with John Major during her time in office, it seemed that she was a woman of substance in more ways than one.

It's interesting that both of the women I've mentioned were quite prim and proper characters. Maybe beneath it all I'm secretly yearning for a straight-laced woman!"

'The Wolf man was just so gorgeous!'

I was entirely on my own with this one ... Wolf from the Gladiators! There was something about him — I just don't know what it was. But it was one of those embarrassing things that I didn't tell anyone.

He came across as the bad guy in the show, but he was actually really nice and very good to the children in the audience. It was all an act to get the crowd going.

Mind you, my crush on him had nothing to do with the Lycra he wore. He was older and I like older men.

It was nothing to do with his ponytail or his stubble.

I quite like the actor Hugh Jackman, who starred as Wolverine (above) in the X-Men films. Another wolf — I must have a bit of a thing for them!

I, also, had a thing for Tom Selleck when he was in the show Magnum PI. He had a handlebar moustache and he wore his shirts opened at the top.

Now, it's the actor Gary Dourdan, from the TV show CSI:Las Vegas. (He plays Warrick Brown.) I think he is just beautiful.

It's got nothing to do with anything else other than looks — he's totally gorgeous."

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