As controversial as it might sound, Jane Fonda’s former husband hated her workout videos even though all money raised from her work went to support his organization.
Jane Fonda, two times award-winning actress, fitness guru, and activist, shared her life in an autobiography named “My Life So Far” that was released in 2005. The A-lister wrote it in such a calm and down-to-earth tone that even the average Joe or Jane may resonate with her story.
The surprising and candid memoir aims to serve as a roadmap for both men and women who are facing challenges in their lives. Her openness to expose her personal life to the public eye (and public judgment and criticism) isn't a common sight among celebrities, especially those of her caliber.
Tom Hayden with Jane Fonda outside the theater showing On Golden Pond.; circa 1970; New York. | Source: Getty Images
From anti-war activism to fitness guru to Oscar-winning actress, not to mention her history of three marriages and three children, Jane’s past divide many opinions. However, whether you are a fan of hers or not, one must admit that she has an interesting story — especially her love life.
Jane’s dating list is long — which comes as no surprise she was a stunning and smart young lady. Her first husband was French film director Roger Vadim, to whom the marriage lasted for nearly seven years. Vadim cast his then-wife in the iconic “Barbarella.” They had a daughter together, Vanessa Vadim.
Her second hubby, Tom Hayden, was also an activist and a member of the “Chicago 7.” Despite the peculiar circumstances, the two shared a strong bond the moment they met.
American actress Jane Fonda with her husband, the French film director Roger Vadim in 1966. | Source: Getty Images
In an HBO documentary, “Jane Fond in Five Acts,” Janerevealed
that she knew she would marry Tom right after they met:
"He put his hand on my knee, and I felt this electric shock go through my body; I think that I've met the man that I'm going to marry next."
Tom Hayden was one of the “Chicago 7” activists, and what bonded them at first might’ve been the reason that ended their 16-year-long marriage. The activist admittedly said what attracted him to Jane was her “transformation from a Hollywood star to a political star.”
ane Fonda, and her politcally active husband, Tom Hayden, talk with newsmen at the Americana Hotel where they received plaques honoring them for their activities from the Emergency Civil Liberties Committee in New York, 1974. | Source: Getty Images
Jane started her political activism in 1960 in support of the Civil Rights Movement and opposition to the Vietnam War. In the 1970s, she began her involvement in the Feminist movement. In his 1988 memoir, Tomshared
“Being able to fight the same hazardous battles daily, and to do so together rather than in loneliness, was a powerful basis for this love."
In 1973, Tom and Jane officially tied the knot at Fonda's Laurel Canyon house. Despite some articles saying that they wed because of Jane’s desire to have children, in the book “Modern American Lives,” the author mentioned that Jane was already three months pregnant when they got married.
Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden circa 1979 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images
In the documentary, Jane recalls that her mother-in-law pushed them to get married when they announced they were expecting. She mentioned how uncomfortable it would be for them to go to an interview and be asked about how she got pregnant without being married.
The actress said that Tom’s mother had a point, so they decided to tie the knot. Five months later, they welcomed Troy O'Donovan Garity. The parents chose the paternal grandmother's maiden name as the names Fonda and Hayden "carried too much baggage."
The contradictions, however, never ceased. From the day they met until their divorce, Jane fought to reduce the differences between being a Hollywood star and a social movement activist. She would often sleep on the floor of a communal that's cockroach-infested, which her father called "shack."
A photo from circa 1972 of US actress Jane Fonda visiting Hanoi. | Source: Flickr
In an interview with The New Yorker, Jane admitted that she wanted to prove to people, mainly to her former and late husband Tom, that they could live everyday life despite the movie star status:
“I had no dishwasher. I had no washing machine. I wanted to prove, to Tom and to myself, that I could do that, that I didn’t need to live with privilege.”
In the ‘80s, Jane would engage in a whole new career path. After receiving many accolades and awards, including an Emmy and an Oscar nomination, she got involved with aerobic classes, and soon she released the “Jane Fonda Workout.”
Actress Jane Fonda and fitness instructor Denise Austin arrives at the 2014 AFI Life Achievement Award Gala Tribute at Dolby Theatre on June 5, 2014 in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images
The videos and books became a frenzy among baby boomers, selling millions of copies of books and VCRs. The initial idea was to use the profit to fund her and her husband’s political activism, the Campaign for Economic Democracy.
Despite the success and the money raised for the organization, Jane’s fitness guru status didn’t please her husband, as he thought it was all about vanity.
The differences between them culminated in divorce in 1989. The actress shared in her documentary that their split didn't happen only because of her new side career, but also that they had become estranged from each other.
Jane Fonda posing in an image taken on August 25, 1967. | Source: Getty Images
Tom spoke candidly about their last years of marriage. He admitted not being ready for having an actress wife. He then turned into alcohol and other women.
After 16 years of marriage, Tom announced to his then-wife that he fell in love with another woman. Her way to deal with it? She threw his things out of the window. While it is hard to say whether this was the right thing to do, Jane said that it “helped a little bit.”
She got devastated by what happened, and in her own words, she was “broken.” But Jane, as a strong woman that she is, saw this as an opportunity to grow and learn more about herself.
Jane Fonda at Paris Fashion Week at Avenue Des Champs Elysees on October 1, 2017. | Source: Getty Images
Two years later, Jane found love again in the arms of media mogul Ted Turner. The couple stayed together for two decades and parted ways in 2001.
After a year dating the widowed Lynden Gillis from 2007 to 2008, Jane’s latest romance and long relationship was with record producer Richard Perry which ended in 2017. Since then, she retired from the dating market and told Extra that she'd "closed up shop down there."
Jane Fonda (C) and Indigenous community members gather before praying for water during a rally and march in Solway, Minnesota on June 7, 2021. | Source: Getty Images
Tom Hayden passed away in 2016 at the age of 76 from complications of a previous stroke he suffered in 2015. His wife, Barbara Williams, told CNN that he passed away surrounded by his family at the UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, California.
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