Jane Fonda opens up about her battle with cancer and her life at the age of 85 in a new interview with US Magazine.
The actress and activist, who will star in three new films this year, commented on how she has freed herself from insecurities throughout her life and why she has no intention of retiring from acting or activism: “My platform is important.” Check out the highlights of the Hollywood Reporter interview below:
About Fighting Cancer
Last year, Jane Fonda was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer that originates in the cells of the lymphatic system, and she is now in remission, having finished her last course of chemotherapy in mid-November. For the star, who is a fitness enthusiast and still works out regularly, that meant making some adjustments to her active routine — taking the elevator at her house, for example, when she’s always been a climber. “She affected me deeply,” Fonda says of the chemotherapy. “Sometimes I’d run out of energy. Usually I could do push-ups for a few minutes. When the chemo was on me, 30 seconds later I’d pass out.”
But there are no signs of such fatigue in his career. In fact, she’s busier than most actors half her age, starring in three movies in the next four months. The first is “80 for Brady,” a Paramount comedy opening February 3, in which Fonda and Lily Tomlin star with Sally Field and Rita Moreno as octogenarian football fans trying to make it to the Super Bowl. Then comes the dramatic comedy Moving On, in which she and Tomlin team up again in a revenge plot against the widower of her late boyfriend. Then there’s “Book Club: The Next Chapter,” a comedy starring Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen. “Even at the height of my career, wherever that was, I think in the ’70s, I didn’t do three movies in one year,” says Fonda. “So I feel very lucky.”
Jeanne was married three times: first, to the French director Roger Vadim in 1965, with whom she had a daughter, director Vanessa Vadim; Then with political activist Tom Hayden in 1973, with whom she had a son, actor Troy Garrity, and she adopted a 14-year-old daughter, activist Mary Luana Williams; and finally, businessman Ted Turner in 1991, whom she divorced in 2001. Vadim died in 2000 and Hayden in 2016. Fonda says she reads obituaries regularly: “I have some friends who always ask me, ‘Are they still alive? ‘”. ‘”
When she became an activist at age 30, she began to understand her privilege on a deeper level. The first time she was arrested was her, in 1970, for scaling the wall of a Seattle Army Reserve Center that Native American protesters wanted restored for use as a Native American cultural center. The other 84 people arrested that day were Native Americans. “They took a beating,” says Fonda. “I did not go.” Other women who protested with her took her children with them. “I left my son [at home] with a housekeeper,” she says.
It was spending time with these activist women in the 1970s that transformed Fonda’s sense of her own potential as a woman. “By opening up about feminism and female friendships, I’ve become healthier,” says Fonda. “She taught me not to be afraid of weakness, not to be afraid to ask for help, even if it’s hard for me to do so.”
Taking action, now, is very much a way of helping Fonda call attention to the causes she cares about. “One feeds the other,” she says. Recently I’ve been thinking, ‘Maybe I want to stop acting.’ “I mean, I’m 85 years old. But then I realized that my platform is important. It attracts people who might not come naturally.” Fonda spent her 82nd birthday in jail after being arrested for the fifth time in Washington, D.C. in 2019 at an ongoing climate change protest she called Fire Drill Fridays. “I was happy to be serving 82 years in prison,” she says. “Because I knew it would get a lot of attention.”
Jane Fonda admits that she doesn’t think much of her legacy. “I’m not afraid of death. I think I’m telling the truth when I say that.” “But I’m so afraid that I’ll end up with a lot of regrets when it’s too late to do anything.”