Jane Fonda Recalls Heartbreaking Struggle to Connect to ‘Grace and Frankie’ Character: ‘I Had a Nervous Breakdown’
Throughout her decades-long run in the acting business, Jane Fonda has won a plethora of awards and accolades: two Oscars, four Golden Globes and an Emmy — just to name a few. While her longtime career is usually correlated with success, fame and fortune, the iconic actress is the first to admit that Hollywood isn’t always rainbows and butterflies.
In fact, the 81-year-old recently opened up about the struggles she faced while filming the Netflix original series Grace and Frankie. “It took me a season to come to care for my character. I had to go back into therapy and start Prozac,” Jane revealed to The Hollywood Reporter for the magazine’s annual comedy actress roundtable — which also features Regina Hall, Tiffany Haddish, Alex Borstein, Maya Rudolph and Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
The Book Club actress explained how she had a hard time connecting to her onscreen character, Grace. “I had a nervous breakdown during the first season and I discovered it’s because the very first episode our husbands tell us that they are going to leave us after 40 years and marry each other and that triggered abandonment,” she continued before getting choked up. “Oh, this is not a good thing to talk about.”
The On Golden Pond star explained that the storyline for the web television series — which also stars Lily Tomlin as Frankie — unknowingly hit a nerve inside of her. “It was a big trigger, and I didn’t realize that a character in a comedy could actually trigger something very profound,” she said.
Jane added that once she acknowledged the inner struggle, everything changed. “I love [Grace] and I learned to invite her into the room. After the first season, I couldn’t have written a backstory for her,” she admitted to the outlet. “Then I wrote 30 pages without ever stopping. But I don’t really want to have to be anything like her. We have too much in common as it is.”
The beloved icon also opened up about the conscious decision she made to “be part of giving a cultural face to older women” in her 40s. Jane even explained why everyone should “embrace” the highs and lows in their career.
“It doesn’t have to peak and then be all downhill. I am over the hill in a chronological sense, but there is a whole vista out there that I didn’t anticipate,” Jane shared. “So you can reach the peak and then you can go down and it can be just as interesting. It’s a good idea not to pay too much attention to what other people think are the peaks and valleys.”
Jane is such an amazing woman and role model!