At age 83, Jane Fonda is hotter and more radical than ever. The Oscar-winner covers Harper’s Bazaar, and inside, she talks about her evolution as a performer, author, activist and feminist. Also, her love life; she has been married three and divorced three times (to director Roger Vadim, activist Tom Hayden, media mogul Ted Turner).
The Vietnam war activist was motivated to become a climate change activist after reading Naomi Klein’s On Fire. She said: “I always feel that I’ve got to pay attention so I can learn. And I try to have friends who can teach me. I’m a student. I’m a generic kind of person. I’m very observant. I receive it. And then I become the megaphone. I don’t invent things. You have to know where your strengths are. I’m derivative; I’m not original.”
Fonda said: “Part of the reason I get into a relationship with a man is because I feel that he can take me down a new path. I’m attracted to people who can teach me things and whose lives are different from mine, and so I give myself over to that. First of all, I want to please him. That’s a problem. When I married Ted—I mean, marrying Ted is like marrying 15 people—you have to learn how to hunt, so I did. You have to learn how to fly-fish, so I did. He liked me to dress sexy, so I did. And so forth. I wanted to. Why be with Ted Turner if you’re not going to allow yourself to be absorbed in his reality and learn from it? And I’m glad I did.”
She said: “One of the painful things that I’ve realized by 80—I don’t even know how old I am—83, and single now. What I’ve had to really think about is that I’m not really capable [of intimacy]. It’s not them. It’s me. If a guy had come along and said, ‘Come on, Fonda, show up,’ I would have run away scared. I was attracted to men who never would have done that to me because they couldn’t necessarily show up themselves. I didn’t know that at the time, but now I know. I don’t think I can do anything about it now, but that’s the truth, as Lily [Tomlin] would say. That’s the truth.”
TURNING TO TV
She said, of Grace and Frankie: “I was one of those movie people who, for a long time, was snobbish about TV. Aaron Sorkin offered me this ongoing role in The Newsroom, and I realized, ‘This is my future.’ I’m old. Television is more forgiving for older women, and so I said, ‘Okay, I’m going to start paying attention.’ So I started watching TV, and now I don’t know if I’m going to go back into movie theaters. I just love television. I just love discovering Michaela Coel, for example.”
Fonda said: “I think maybe now I could, but the problem is that, like a man, I would want a younger man. Isn’t that awful? It’s a thing about skin. I would want a younger man, and I’m too vain.”