youtube.com/People | Getty Images
youtube.com/People | Getty Images

Jane Fonda Once Revealed That She Forgave Herself after Years of Guilt for Her Mom's Passing

Titi Dokubo
Nov 25, 2021
07:20 P.M.

After Jane Fonda lost her mother as a young girl, she blamed herself for years. She grew up thinking it was all her fault, and it wasn't until she was an adult that she knew what had happened.


On reading reports from the hospital, Jane Fonda discovered that her mother had been sexually abused as a child. The insights she got from the reports helped her understand what her mother had gone through.

Finally, she was able to forgive herself for the guilt she had carried around with her for years. Here's a look into Jane Fonda's life and her relationship with her family.

Jane Fonda in an interview on September 21, 2018 (left), Jane Fonda, Frances de Villers Brokaw, Frances Fonda, and Henry Fonda enjoying a picnic in 1949 (right) | Photo: Youtube.com/People Getty Images

Jane Fonda in an interview on September 21, 2018 (left), Jane Fonda, Frances de Villers Brokaw, Frances Fonda, and Henry Fonda enjoying a picnic in 1949 (right) | Photo: Youtube.com/People Getty Images


Jane Seymour Fonda, popularly known as Jane Fonda, was born to Socialite Frances Ford Seymour and Actor Henry Fonda on December 21, 1937.

Being distantly related to Henry VIII, King of England, from April 22, 1509, until 1547 from her mother's side, they called Jane a Lady until her fourth grade.


At 15, Jane was already teaching dance at Fire Island Pines in New York before attending Greenwich Academy, the Emma Willard School, and Vassar College.

Jane Fonda at the L.A. Dance Project Annual Gala on October 16, 2021, in Los Angeles | Photo: Getty Images

Jane Fonda at the L.A. Dance Project Annual Gala on October 16, 2021, in Los Angeles | Photo: Getty Images

In 1954 she became interested in arts, and by the time her acting career started, she had already gone into modeling and had appeared on the cover of Vogue twice.

Jane dropped out of college and went to Paris to study art for six months. On her return in 1958, Jane met Lee Strasberg, and her meeting with him changed the course of her life.

He told her that she had talent, and this was when she started considering acting. In 1960, she made her movie debut in "Tall Story."


Throughout the decade, Jane averaged almost two movies a year. She starred in movies like "Walk on the Wild Side" in 1962, "Circle of Love" in 1964, "The Game Is Over" in 1966, and "Spirits of the Dead" in 1968.


In the 1970s, she won the Academy Award for Best Actress twice for starring in "Klute" in 1971 and "Coming Home" in 1978. Around this time, Jane gave life to her intense political commitment to protest the Vietnam War.

Her visit to Hanoi and her pro-North Vietnamese propaganda earned her the nickname "Hanoi Jane" and made many people dislike her. Her activism also got her blacklisted in Hollywood.


In 1984, Jane won a Primetime Emmy Award for her role in "The Dollmaker." During the 1980s, Jane began to thin out her appearances on the big screen.

She got to the point of canceling them completely. At the same time, she devoted herself more and more often to making videos of aerobic gymnastics, inventing a second and very successful career in this sector.

In her private life, Jane married Director Roger Vadim in 1965 after becoming an item in December 1963. They had a daughter, Vanessa, on September 28, 1968.


On January 19, 1973, she married Tom Hayden, a politician, and they had a son Troy O'Donovan Garity on July 7, 1973. They were married three days after her divorce from Vadim.

In 1982, the couple adopted an African-American teenager, Mary Luana Williams. In 1988, Jane and Hayden were separated during the Christmas holiday, and their divorce was finalized on June 10, 1990.


On December 21, 1991, Jane married Tycoon and Founder of CNN, Ted Turner. The end of the marriage was made official in 2000, and they were divorced on May 22, 2001.

In 2005 she returned to the big screen with "Monster in Law," which she starred with Jennifer Lopez. In 2009, Jane returned to Broadway after 46 years in Moisés Kaufman's "33 Variations."



Widowed in 1936, Frances married Henry in a second marriage but, apart from the joy of being parents, their marriage was not the happiest. Henry was described as a bully, cold, and a womanizer.

Despite Frances's numerous attempts to get attention from him, he would not give her any. Jane recalled that their house was full of emotional and physical domestic abuse.

In 1949, when Henry filed for divorce, Frances was already traumatized by the sexual abuse she endured as a child. She also had bipolar disorder and was admitted to the clinic in the throes of a deep depression.

Undated photo of Henry Fonda and Frances Brokaw | Photo: Getty Images

Undated photo of Henry Fonda and Frances Brokaw | Photo: Getty Images

It was during one of Frances's stays in a sanitarium that she committed suicide. After her death, they informed Jane and her brother Peter that their mother had died of a heart attack.


A year after her mother died, Jane was in a study hall when a girlfriend passed her a movie magazine that had the story of her mother's suicide.

At that point, Jane thought if she had gone downstairs to see her mother the day she came to the house before the incident, then her mother would not have killed herself.


The incident made Jane go through life with guilt, thinking it was her fault. Years later, Jane got the records from Craig House, the sanitarium where her mother had committed suicide.

She was shaking when she got the package, and when Jane started reading it, she realized that her mother had been sexually abused at eight. That was one of the most important things she learned.

Reading the documents made her understand why her mother had gone through a rough time. Jane was also able to forgive herself as she realized that it had nothing to do with her.

Jane and her brother Peter were two of the very few who had witnessed their father's more violent side firsthand. She said her father had a hard time expressing his emotions and feelings.

Peter also had difficulties coping with their mother's death as no one would talk about her after she died. At 20, he found out the truth about her death, threw himself into his work, and began acting.


Jane had a troubled relationship with Henry up until his death in August 1982. Peter reached out to Henry in 1979 to offer him a role in "Wanda Nevada," and they mended their relationship.


On the other hand, Jane spent decades trying to connect with her father, and in 1981, they starred in the movie "On Golden Pond" together.

In Henry's last days, it was difficult for Jane to see her father in poor health. Despite their troubled relationship, she still misses him and once wished he was alive to talk about their only movie together.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "help" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741, or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

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