We all have our regrets. No one goes through life without accumulating a couple of memories of things. We’ll do differently depending on the opportunity. It’s just part of the human experience. We make mistakes, we learn from them and hopefully, we don’t repeat them.
Celebrities are no different. We didn’t always hear about their mistakes and failings, the stars are human errors just like us. And regrets aren’t the only things that famous folk try to keep under wraps. If you’re under the surveillance of media and paparazzi, you too will probably want to keep things private if possible.
After all, we’re all entitled to and deserving of a little bit of privacy. If our personal business is on blast all the time, the world will see. Our mental health will be the first thing to go.
Jane Fonda: A Polarizing Figure
Depending on who you ask, some say that Jane Fonda is one of the greatest actresses of all time. Others might tell you that she’s a traitor to the United States. One thing’s for sure, there are a lot of things against her. Still, Fonda manages to become one of the most enduring figures in Hollywood’s history.
Her story is one that is full of mystery, secrecy, and twists and turns. You’ll only expect to find it in the most gripping of mystery novels. The Barbarella actress, environmentalist, and former fashion model experiences her fair share of controversies over the years. Now that she’s 83, she opens up a bit about her past. She says a lot, so buckle up and get ready for a little journey with us down memory lane.
You might have heard conflicting things about Fonda. Hollywood – and the political world – splits about her, but we want to get to the bottom of things. Who is the real Jane Fonda? And what are some of Jane’s biggest secrets? Stick around to see what we were able to uncover. As a hero or a villain, Jane Fonda is definitely one of the most compelling entertainers of her generation.
Her Mother Committed Suicide
In 1950 when she is 12 years old, Jane’s mother, Frances Seymour, suffers from bipolar disorder for years. She commits suicide on her 42nd birthday.
She institutionalizes for some time. The last time that she comes home to visit, a nurse accompanies her to prevent her from attempting this thing. Frances manages to slip away from the nurse and gets a little razor blade out of a lacquer box. She hid it in her belongings and brought it back to the institution with her. Ultimately, she would use the blade to slit her own throat.
Fonda didn’t discover the truth about her mother’s death until a year later. A fellow student shows her a magazine article that says she cuts her own throat. She hears that her mother died from a heart attack, but the second she read the article, she knows that it is true.
Fonda spent years resenting her mother for committing suicide. She also harbored a lot of guilt for not being able to stop her. She was only able to come to peace with the tragedy years later when she uncovered files from her Mom’s medical records that indicated that she was the victim of serious sexual abuse. Finally, Jane understood the pain and trauma that her mother had to deal with. Suddenly, all the puzzle pieces fell into place.
She Had A Rocky Relationship Witt Her Father
Jane’s father is none other than the esteemed Hollywood actor Henry Fonda. Even though he was her biological father, Jane had a difficult relationship with him up until his death in August 1982.
In numerous interviews that she attends, Jane says her father’s cold and distant personality. In 2016, she revealed that her dad only made her decades-long battle with bulimia worse than it already was. She told US Weekly that when she hit adolescence, all that mattered to him was how she looked and how fit she was.
Henry used to have Jane’s stepmother tell her that she needed to lose weight and wear longer skirts if she ever wanted to have a boyfriend. Through her stepmom, he would dictate all the physical changes that he wanted her to make. To him, she was like a lump of clay that he could mold, but Jane resented him for this.
Jane spent years trying to connect with her father. In 1981, they both worked on On Golden Pond, the only film that they ever shot together. It creates when Henry is sick and the film’s plot says to closely mirror their real-life relationship. Even today, she still considers that film to be one of the finer moments of her career.
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And make sure you watch the rest of this video too. In just a moment we’ll go over why Fonda was once considered a traitor to her country. It really is a fascinating story, so, stay tuned.
She Made Her Peace With Barbarella
One of Jane’s most famous films and one of her first big breaks was in 1968s sci-fi cult classic Barbarella. It was shot and directed by her first husband, Roger Vadim. Making the film was particularly rough on Fonda, but as the years have gone by, Jane has developed a more favorable way of looking at it.
Jane and Roger’s marriage is falling apart during the production of the film and she needs to do a lot of things during its filming that she isn’t exactly thrilled to do. For one thing, she shuts into a birdcage while the birds are constantly defecating and plucking at her. You can’t blame anyone for not being into that, but years later she was able to gain more of a sense of humor about it.
Even though the film pans when it comes out, it develops a cult following of sorts. Even Fonda can look back on it today and enjoy it for what it was. Sure, the script is all over the place and pretty ridiculous, but it’s campy, sexy, and fun. What more could you ask for?
She Tried To Get Fired From Klute
In just a few years, Jane Fonda was able to transform her reputation from just being “that sexy actress from Barbarella” to a legitimate actress. Her image especially improved after starring in They Shoot Horses, Don’t They in 1969 and Klute in 1971. The latter of which earned her an Academy Awards nomination for best actress.
Even though Klute helped bring her major success, the prep work that she did to get into character as a New York City prostitute made her second-guess whether she was the right person to play the role. The production manager of the film had managed to get her in touch with actual prostitutes and madams before filming so that she could research the part and step into character.
When she was in New York City, she would go to these after-hours clubs that the other sex workers would go to. No pimp ever tried to pick her up.
What that told her was that she wasn’t right for the part. She didn’t have what it took, in her eyes, to really embody her character. Begging the director, Alan Paula to fire her. Even she gave him a list of other actresses that she thought would be right for the part, but he wasn’t having it. She ended up sticking with the role anyway, and the rest is, as they say, history.
She Blames Her Mugshot On Richard Nixon
Jane Fonda wasn’t just an actress. In the 1970s, she became famous for her political activism – especially when it came to opposing the Vietnam war. She wasn’t afraid to ruffle any feathers either. One time in particular she even managed to tick off President Richard Nixon, whom she later learned orchestrated her infamous arrest at the Cleveland Hopkins Airport in 1970.
She was returning home from Canada after delivering a powerful speech meant to raise awareness about the Winter Soldier Investigation which was underway at the time. Once she returns to the States, her luggage seizes and her belongings were searched.
Authorities found a large bag full of plastic baggies marked with the letters ‘B, L, and D’. The cops are clueless about what the markings meant but it determines that they are shorthand for ‘breakfast, lunch, and dinner’. Each baggy contained vitamins that she took with each meal.
Even though they are just supplements, she was still arrested and charged with drug smuggling. She tries to explain what the pills were but she hears that the cops are getting their orders directly from the White House.
Nixon had hoped that the scandal would ruin her credibility and that people wouldn’t take her speeches seriously afterwords. Fortunately, months later, after every pill had been tested in a lab, her charges were dismissed.
She Regrets The ‘Hanoi Jane’ Scandal
In 1972, while visiting North Vietnam, Fonda was photographed smiling and laughing while sitting on top of a Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun.
Jane has spent the last few decades apologizing for the incident and trying to explain herself. She was nicknamed ‘Hanoi Jane’ and was branded as an American traitor after those photos were published. Even today, an entire section of her official website is dedicated to ‘her best and honest recollection of what happened.’
According to her recollection of events, she was led by someone towards the gun and told to sit down. She was still laughing and applauding in reaction to a song that was just sung for her by the local soldiers.
Her laughter and smile had nothing to do with where she was sitting but before she realized how it would look, the cameras flashed. Moments later while she was walking back to her car, she realized the gravity of the situation and how she had looked.
She begged and pleaded with the photographer to not publish the photographs and he assured her that it would be taken care of but that promise proved to be an empty one. Still, she doesn’t know if the photo was a set-up by the Vietnamese but she has spent the last several decades continuing to pay the price for it.
She Wishes She Was A Better Mom
Fonda told Barbara Walters that she believes that she wasn’t a particularly good parent to her daughter, Vanessa Vadim. She described their relationship as ‘prickly’ and ‘problematic’.
She explained to Barbara that Vanessa has been angry with her for most of her life. When she was young, she was never really there for her. She took care of all the external things like buying her food and clothes and taking her to the doctors but she was never really there for her in an emotional sense.
Even though they’ve since patched things up, Jane still feels a tremendous amount of guilt for not being more involved in her life when she needed it the most.
Even at 83, Jane Fonda is still killing it. 2020 was a big year for her. Not only did she star in 10 episodes of Disney’s Elena of Avalor, but she was also a contestant on Who Want To Be A Millionaire, a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and a contributor for Make It Work, a special aired on The CW that focused on a group of women trying to help in the fight against COVID-19,
She’s also still very much so involved in the film world. In 2018, she starred in Bill Holderman’s romantic comedy Book Club and in 2022 she’ll be starring in the animated film Luck.
It’s pretty clear that Jane Fonda is not the kind of person that’s going to let a few past regrets get in the way of achieving her goals. Sure, she had a few rough chapters in her life story, but those have all been overshadowed by her laundry list of accomplishments.
Anyway, we’d actually love to hear from you. What do you think Fonda’s best work is, Barbarella, The China Syndrome, Klute, Julia? Drop us a line with your favorite film in the comments section below. And before you go, make sure you take a moment to give this video a like and subscribe to our channel if you haven’t already. Tap the bell icon while you’re at it to turn on notifications. That way you can keep up to date with all of our latest content.