Jane Fonda Opens Up About Motherhood; Admits She Could’ve Been a Better Mother to Her 3 Children

Jane Fonda is finding a new sense of purpose and meaning in being a mother in her later years. She expressed as much in a recent interview with CNN anchor Chris Wallace on Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace – admitting she could’ve been a better mother but is now trying to make up for lost time. 

The legendary and iconic actress – whose career began in 1959 and spans eight decades – first entered motherhood on September 28, 1968, when she gave birth to her first daughter, Vanessa Vadim. It’s the only child she shares with her late ex-husband, Roger Vadim – they officially divorced in January 1973.

Jane Fonda Opens Up About Motherhood; Admits She Could’ve Been a Better Mother to Her 3 Children | Jane Fonda is finding a new sense of purpose and meaning in being a mother in her later years -- adding she wishes she had been a better mother to her 3 kids.

On July 7, 1973 – just six months after her divorce from Vadim – Fonda gave birth to her first and only son, Troy O’Donovan Garity, with late ex-husband Tom Hayden. Nine years later, the former couple adopted Mary Williams, whose parents were Black Panthers. She was 14 at the time of the adoption. 

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“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,” Jane Fonda admitted to Chris Wallace. “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.”

Today, her children are all grown up – Mary is 55 years old, Vanessa is 54 years old, and Troy is 49 years old. Both Vanessa and Troy are married, while Mary was engaged at one point in time. Fonda is also a proud grandmother to three grandchildren – two from her daughter, Vanessa, and one from her son, Troy.

In November 2022, she talked about the incredible feeling she gets watching her son become a parent for the first time. “And I’ll tell you one of the things that’s keying it off is watching my son. They just had their first child. And when I watch my son and his wife Simone parent, I’m awestruck,” she told the Daily Mail

She continued to explain how watching her son raise a child puts into perspective all the things she didn’t do with her own children. She believes she ‘would not have become who I became’ if she didn’t prioritize her duties as an activist and actress over raising her children. Now, she wants to be an example to others.

Jane Fonda Also Talks About Losing Her Father

Jane Fonda was also asked about her late father, Henry Fonda, in her interview with Chris Wallace. While they didn’t have the greatest relationship, Fonda has been open about an emotional moment the father-daughter shared prior to his death in 1982 – the same year she adopted Mary Luana Williams. 

“Before he died, I was able to tell him that I loved him and that I forgave him for, you know, whatever didn’t happen. And I hope that he would forgive me for not being a better daughter. I got to say that to him,” she said – adding that, while he didn’t respond to her, she did see him break down and weep for the first time. 

She also shared an emotional moment in a previous interview with Andy Cohen in July 2022. “All I could do was my end, to tell him at the end, ‘I’m sorry that there were times when I made you unhappy,” she said. “I promise you that your wife Shirley will remain in the family forever. I will commit myself to that.'”

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Now that Jane Fonda is older – she turned 85 years old in December – she’s making an effort to better herself for her children and grandchildren. She hopes she can inspire other parents around the world to be more present in their children’s lives – that way, they don’t have the same regrets she now has.

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