On the cusp of turning 80 years old, Jane Fonda has exclusively revealed to Closer Weekly what still chokes her up to this day, the love and life lessons she’s learned along the way, and the power of making peace.
Back in the early 1980s, Jane starred in and produced the film On Golden Pond for her late father. Just recalling the moments leading up to her dad, Henry Fonda, winning the 1986 Oscar for his role in the movie, the Grace & Frankie actress got emotional. “My father was very, very ill and he could not attend the ceremonies, and he [asked if I] would receive the Oscar on his behalf,” Jane recalled to Closer. “And when they called his name… it was probably the happiest moment of my life.”
Jane and her father Henry.
It’s no wonder that her father’s win struck a poignant chord in Jane’s life. Her co-star Dabney Coleman told Closer that Jane wrote him a note at the time, which read, “This is a little movie I’m doing with my dad. I want to see if I can get him an Academy Award.” Aside from sharing one of her happiest memories, Jane — who turns 80 this December — is also very straightforward about the tough times she’s faced in her life. These things, she admitted, she’s had to make peace with.
Jane admitted she still feels remorse about her ill-advised actions while protesting the Vietnam War, her innate need to please, and most heartbreaking, “that I wasn’t a better parent,” she revealed. But despite Jane’s past shortcomings, making peace with the darkest moments of her life has been crucial to becoming the person she is now. “You have to stay brave and keep trying to go beyond your comfort zone to become who you’re supposed to be,” she said.
Jane and friend Lily Tomlin on the Netflix series Grace & Frankie.
Of her tendency to please others — which Jane attributes to her privileged but emotionally challenging upbringing in Greenwich, CT — she maintains that it took a long time for her to put herself first. Previously, Jane has revealed that she had been sexually abused and raped as a child. She even experienced sexual pressure in the workplace as an actress; when she didn’t comply, she was fired from jobs. “I wish I’d known that it’s OK to say no,” she explained. “And that ‘No’ is a complete sentence.”
Aside from her father’s Academy Award moment, Jane asserted that right now, in her current state, she’s the happiest she has ever been. “When people say, ‘When were you your happiest?’ I would have to say now. I get more than eight hours of sleep every night; I meditate twice a day; I eat right; I work out,” she shared.