Jane Fonda is good at many things, namely acting, and activism. One thing that she revealed she wasn’t so good at, however, was being a mother. In a recent interview, she disclosed that mothering didn’t always come easily to her as she navigated the waters of raising her children.
The Fonda children
Jane Fonda has three children – two biological and one adopted. She married her first husband, Roger Vadim, in 1965, giving birth to their daughter, Vanessa Vadim, three years later. The pair later divorced, and Fonda married her second husband, Tom Hayden, in 1973. She gave birth to their son, Troy Garity, only six months after the wedding. The couple decided years later to adopt the 14-year-old Mary Luana Williams in 1982.
Not only is she a mother, but Fonda is now a grandmother to Vanessa’s two children, Viva and Malcolm. Her family is extremely important to her, and is often what she credits as her motivation for being an activist. She told PEOPLE, “I just want my young grandchildren to know that grandma did her best. It’s going to be rough for young people, and I just want my kids to know and my grandkids to know that I did my best.”
Getting candid about motherhood
This relationship, however, wasn’t always what it is today. She alluded to this in a previous interview, saying that she’s trying to make up for things that she didn’t know when she was a young mother. She has also noted that she has some regrets about that time in her life. Fonda said, “When I die, I want my family to be around me. I want them to love me and I have to earn that. I’m still working on it.”
She elaborated on this in an interview with CNN’s Chris Wallace. She told him, “I was not the kind of mother that I wished that I had been to my children. I have great, great children — talented, smart. And I just didn’t know how to do it. I’ve studied parenting, and I know what it’s supposed to be now. I didn’t know then. So I’m trying to show up now.”
‘Trying to show up now’
Part of how she is doing this is by being an involved grandmother. Not only are her grandkids a big inspiration for her activism, but she feels like they are another chance for her. “I don’t think I was that good of a mother. But I did always tell them the truth, and I hope they can always learn from my mistakes. That’s what’s so great about being a grandmother: It gives you a second chance.”
“When my first grandchild was born and I held him in my arms, I really understood intimacy,” she said. “I felt a love I had never felt before. It broke me open, and I needed to be broken open.”
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Fonda’s outspokenness about motherhood and making amends with her children comes in the wake of being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. She told Wallace during their interview that she isn’t afraid of dying, but of having regrets when she does pass away.