Kate Hudson was stunned to learn animal researchers in China had to obtain special permission from government officials before she was allowed to get up close and personal with a panda.
The actress was in the Sichuan province last week (ends22Jan16) as part of the press tour for her new animated film Kung Fu Panda 3, in which she voices dancing panda Mei Mei, and she was granted the rare opportunity to cuddle with a baby bear during a visit to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding.
Kate shared photos and a brief video clip of her experience on Instagram, and she has now revealed research officials had to have her one-on-one session signed off by government representatives.
"I didn't realize it's actually very rare to hold one of the pandas," she told breakfast show Today. "They had to actually call the Chinese government to see if it was OK for me to hold the panda, and they said yes! I was like, 'I am in with the Chinese government!' So that was cool."
The actress, who admitted the panda's coat is actually "quite rough", also admitted to trying to convince facility bosses to name the four-month-old animal after her own son, Bingham.
"They haven't named him yet and I thought, 'Maybe you should call him Bing Bing', because my son's name is Bing..." she laughed. "They were like, 'No...'"
Meanwhile, Kate gave four-year-old Bingham - her kid with Muse rocker Matt Bellamy - a taste of her life in the spotlight earlier this month (Jan16), when she took her son and his 12-year-old brother Ryder as her dates to the Kung Fu Panda 3 world premiere in Los Angeles - but she claims they weren't too interested in seeing mom recognized as an actress.
"I just always feel it is best to keep them (out of the spotlight) until they're old enough to make their own decisions...," she explained, "but I realized that they don't really know what my life is.
"They've never seen (any of my films), they've never been to a premiere, and then there's a funny thing where you go, 'Well, maybe I shouldn't exclude them too much about what my life is', and so with this, I thought, 'It's Kung Fu Panda, let's do it.'
"Bing, who's four, all he cared about was Yogurtland, which was at the premiere... He was, like, on the carpet and he looked up and said, 'Can we get frozen yogurt, mommy?'"