Jane Fonda: 'I never pictured 30'

Just last week Jane Fonda celebrated turning 80, but it's a milestone she never pictured reaching. Having not looked past 30 as a young woman, she is simply thankful to be alive and living a different life to what she first envisioned.

"I never pictured 30," she told People Magazine. "I assumed I wouldn't live very long and that I would die lonely and an addict of some sort. I didn't think if I did live this long, that I would be vibrant and healthy and still working. I'm grateful."

The former fitness instructor's early years were defined by family tragedy. Her socialite mother Frances battled mental illness, and died by suicide when Fonda was just 12. After her father Henry remarried that same year, Fonda said she led a "fraught adolescence" having suffered from bulimia, abuse, taking hallucinogenic drugs and being filled with insecurity, even as she rose to fame and won two Oscars.

Today, the actor, activist and author is not only alive but thriving, saying that overcoming life challenges has taught her lessons in inner self-improvement. Her other proud moments come from the roots of her "controversial" anti-war activism, and remaining an outspoken advocate for women's rights throughout her career.

And she is still earning praise for her acting work, having garnered Emmy nominations in 2016 and 2017 for her role in Netflix's Grace and Frankie.

Fonda, who has been married three times, said if there was any advice she could impart for relationships and professional life, it would be, "If you don't feel seen, safe or celebrated, get out."

And her only regret? Not spending more time with her three children, now aged 44, 49 and 50.

"I'm thankful that I've gotten better over the 80 years," she told the publication after reaching the birthday milestone on December 21.

"I'm less judgmental. I'm forgiving. It wasn't always true. I've really worked hard to get better as a human being."

This story Jane Fonda: 'I never pictured 30' first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.