Actress and activist Jane Fonda, nearly 85, says it took her 70-plus years to “become young” and feeling as good as she does now is something of a miracle.
In anticipation of his new role in the animated film, Fonda communicates exclusively with Star about what her late illustrious father taught her about life and deathbed regrets, why she never truly felt like a classic Hollywood icon, and her rubber band trick to heal a broken heart.
You recently said “Now I’m younger [at age 84] than I was in my 20s.” How to stay young?
To be honest, I don’t think this is true for everyone. What we are in our 20s – at least for the first part of our lives, before we realize that we can actually put a paddle in the water and steer
our lives will go in a different direction if we choose to do so… until I reached this point in my life, I was lost, I didn’t know what to do and who I want to be. I was very unhappy, I felt old and did not feel that I would live very long. So being almost 85 years old and feeling the way I do now is a miracle for me. I tried very purposefully… to make myself better, to fill my life with more meaning. [The artist] Picasso once said: “It takes a long time.
become young”, and this is certainly true for me. It took me over 70 years to become young.
When you say “get young” what do you mean?
Young, [as in] light, without feeling a big load on your shoulders. Learning to be present, learning to accept what is happening, learning that we can’t control anything… something bad will happen, I was there, I did it, and I survived. It’s much easier to be older than to be
younger. How difficult it is to be young! Some questions: “What should I do? Who should I know? Don’t give up, keep going and try to learn from it all so that when you get a little older you can have more influence in your life.
Earlier you talked about not living a life of regret. How did it affect
your decisions in Hollywood – and your life?
when my father [the late actor, Henry Fonda] was sick, he was dying for a long time. I would sit by his bed. He didn’t talk much when he was young and healthy, and you don’t change when you’re on your deathbed. What did I understand [was] he was going to die with regret
when it was too late to do something about it. I’m not afraid of death, but that life comes to an end with a lot of regrets, when it’s too late to do anything.
And it came to me around the age of 60, so I thought, “OK, that means you should live now for the rest of your life in a way that minimizes regrets and walks away feeling pretty good about what you are.” did.” Regrets are usually about what you didn’t do… not about what you did. I try to do what I think is right to the end,
right now, in my life.
You’ve been married three times and previously stated, “Part of the reason I get into a relationship with a man is because I feel like he can take me on a new path.” How do you reflect on the defining relationships in your life?
Well, all three of my husbands definitely took me down a path that I probably wouldn’t have taken if I hadn’t married them. And then, in between marriages, I had boyfriends who didn’t lead me down some new path that really didn’t have anything to teach me, and I got bored pretty quickly.
I feel like I need to always learn, grow and expand, and all my husbands have helped me with that.
What advice do you have for dealing with a broken heart?
Put a band on your wrist and when you get really angry or upset, snap it. This sudden pain changes the nerve pathways in your brain and helps you get out of it for a minute. Then write him a letter, pour out your thoughts – but don’t send it.
In a few years you will read it and be amazed at how different you are when you read it than when you wrote it.
Between projects like the 1968 film Barbarella and the Netflix series Grace and Frankie, and now your voice role in the new Apple TV+ animated film Luck, you’ve achieved incredible longevity and diversity in your acting career, and you won two Oscars for Best Actress. What was your experience in Hollywood?
In fact, I never felt like a part of Hollywood. I mean, I know it sounds weird because my father was a movie star, Henry Fonda, but he wasn’t really part of Hollywood. He rarely went to Hollywood parties. I mean, sometimes he did. It wasn’t a life focused entirely on glamor and Hollywood. It never happened in my life either. Most of my friends
activists and not involved in Hollywood. I went ahead even when it seemed that my career was over. I’m just trying to stay relevant, I guess.
You are the voice of the Baby, the Dragon, in Luck. What attracted you to this role?
She is the president of the Fortune Kingdom, where luck is created. People
they are not allowed there, because it is believed that they will bring bad luck with them. it
a story about a young girl named Sam, who is in a foster family and has nothing but failure. With the help of some creatures in the kingdom, she manages to sneak in and teach the dragon that bad luck is actually the flip side of luck, that they go hand in hand. That luck means nothing without failure, and vice versa. As if life has no meaning without death.
The climate crisis is a major theme of your work as the founder of the Jane Foundation Climate PAC (Political Action Committee). What do you want to say to lawmakers – in the US and around the world – about the state of the environment?
I have to say that Australians understand the climate crisis better than most. I mean, boy, you just can’t get away from fires and floods. We need to look at what the scientists say. We must reduce fossil fuel emissions – the pollution that occurs when we
burn coal and gas – twice by 2030. In the US, there are four election cycles. This is a very short period of time. This is a huge problem that requires not only the adoption of laws and policies, but also a new way of thinking. Think about nature differently, think about our responsibility – this is especially true in the United States, stop thinking about me, about me, about me. It’s pretty scary and we don’t have much time. We must do our best, all of us.
Luck is now streaming exclusively on Apple TV+.
Originally published as Jane Fonda on Hollywood, staying young, and her secret to healing a broken heart