Fisking Fonda.Jane Fonda: I've finally found love at 69
Friday, August 17, 2007
With three ex-husbands behind her, the acting legend thought her love-life was over — until she met a handsome stranger in a bookstore …
Jane Fonda is almost 70, but you'd never know it. There is a sparkle in her vivid green eyes and a spring in her step. The star is positively glowing, but her youthful energy is not the result of plastic surgery, dieting or fanatical exercise — she is madly in love.
The thrice-married actress had given up on romance until handsome businessman Lynden Gillis, 75, attended one of her book signings, asked for an autograph — and got a date instead.
"It's so exciting to be in love. I am having the best sex of my life," declares Jane, who hasn't ruled out marriage number four.
Now — when most people would be looking forward to taking life a little easier, the tireless activist is on another mission. She wants the world to know that ageing can be enjoyable, passionate and thrilling.
You look so happy — it must be romance?
I am in love and I am so happy because I really thought that part of my life was over. Life was fulfilling before, but now it is very exciting. He's totally different from any man I've been with. He's not an alpha male; he is a very nice, lovely guy who is capable of cherishing me. It just feels fabulous. Who knows if it's forever? But I know I'm in love with him. I am sure that's why I look younger [laughs]. I go cycling and hiking, but sex helps a lot. After six years I thought that part of my life was over and I think sex really keeps you young.
Tmi on the sex, Jane. We really don't need to know that.
He's not famous — do you think it will be hard for him living with a huge star?
It's not a problem for him, he admires me a lot but he's very sure of himself. He is a strong man.
You've been in many relationships which have not worked, how is this one different?
It just feels fabulous. It feels fantastic not to be dependant on a man — I can be who I am with him. I'm not needy. I don't need him to validate me. In the past, even with Ted Turner, I needed somebody bigger than life. I've done a lot of work on myself and when I was ready, the right guy came along. Like a lot of women, all of my life I never felt that I could really hold my own space. I always thought I had to be with an alpha male who would validate me. I never felt I was enough on my own. But I don't need that kind of man anymore. Finally I can just be with a really nice guy who is capable of just showing up and loving me. And unlike some of my other husbands, who will remain nameless, he does not suck all of the oxygen in the room.
Translation: Yay! I've got a mangina!
Okay, maybe I'm being a bit harsh on Mr. Gillis, but I don't really have the highest opinion of Miz Fonda, and her predilection for alpha males in the past has perhaps been somewhat oedipal considering how often she bleats about her father. Mr. Gillis could, of course, be so over all the "alpha male" stuff that he's actually a post-alpha male and gets mucho amusement out of his lady friend's antics.
Was it instant attraction?
It was. He turned up at a book signing in New York and I looked up and saw this man walking to me and I said, 'You look like a movie star.' He gave me his card and it went on from there. He's older then me, 75, but that doesn't matter at all. It doesn't hurt that he's fabulous looking, like my father and Clint Eastwood. He was actually married to my college roommate. I knew about him but never met him before she died. He is wonderful, a very creative person who is exciting to be with.
Wow. Five years older than her makes him and "older man". Whoda thunk it? For goodness' sake, woman, you're pushing 70 yourself. You're not Barbarella any more - haven't been for bloody near 50 years! If he were 10 or 12 years I might agree to the "older" tag, but not half a decade.
Is love as passionate and romantic at this stage of life?
It's wonderful. I will be 70 in December, and I have the wisdom now to know that after a certain age you can have a really fulsome, sexy, loving relationship. Hey — I'm here to prove it and it can only get better.
Translation: Will this stuff sell more books? *gushes* Absolutely, I never knew what an orgasm was before now! It only took me half a
Would you have plastic surgery again — you have talked about having breast implants and a face lift?
I had it years ago, but I'm done with all that. I want to give a face to an ageing woman. I take care of myself and I look good for my age but if I change it won't be real. Women have to own their power and not feel they need to be perfect. I would never live in LA again. Everybody's perfect here and they start having plastic surgery at 16. It's very difficult bringing up children in LA.
My first thought on reading this particular bit was: You want to give a face to an ageing woman? Which one?
Seriously, Jane, you had surgery and now you're too old to get away with any more of it. I have no idea what plastic surgery at 70 has to do with bringing up kids in LA, either. Maybe it's got something to do with KRAFT's disease*?
After all you have been through and your openness in the past about your eating disorder, do you have a healthy approach to eating these days?
You know I grew up feeling fat and insecure. But eating and dealing with food has been much easier for me as I've grown older. I actually enjoy cooking now. I eat healthy food, not a lot of sugar. I don't exercise as much as I used to, I'm not in the limelight as much so the pressure to be bone-thin isn't there.
Healthy eating sells more books than sticking your fingers down your throat or scarfing down ipecac.
Nice little mention about the limelight and the pressure it places upon you. That would be the pressure you were happy to participate in, right? All in the name of empowerment, of course.
Looking back, do you regret those exercise videos? Did they make women obsessed, do you think?
No, not at all. I still think my workouts were very positive. I was setting out to give other women what I had discovered, which was that we can have some control over a part of ourselves that we felt was out of control. And over the years the letters I would get were amazing, there was an understanding that empowerment can start in the muscles. When you begin to realise you have parameters, you can say, 'I am here, man, and don't you forget it', you stand up to your boss, you start to own your space.
Is it just me? I've been exercising lately as I'm tired of feeling frumpy, but I don't have a problem with feeling out of control in my life. Any turnings I've taken over the course of my life have been mine. Nobody else's. If people control your decisions, it's because you allow them to. Is that so difficult to comprehend?
Do you have any regrets — or have you come to terms with everything that has happened in your life?
My biggest regret is that I would like to have been a better mother to my daughter — I was not a good mother at all. It wasn't that I was working. I know a lot of good mothers who work. But even when I wasn't working, I just wasn't really there to see her and listen to her and reflect her back with loving eyes. I didn't know how to do that. I would drive her to school and go to the parent teachers' meetings and everything, but I didn't really know who she was because I never took the time for her, she was not my priority. My priority was activism.
And I'm sure she appreciates that you are happy to tell the world that your daughter wasn't important enough for you to be properly involved in her life.
Do you think in retrospect you should have been a stay-at-home mum to Troy, now 34, and Vanessa, 38?
No, there is nothing wrong with working. The thing is it is easy to say what I am doing is important, but it comes back to haunt you later if you don't put in the time with your children early on. You can be an activist and a movie star and a working woman and do it right, but I didn't know how to do it right, because I didn't have role models. My parents were wonderful people and good people, they weren't mean, but they didn't know how to be real parents and so I didn't know. I've studied it now — I teach young girls and that's why I can be good to my grandkids.
You weren't interested in being a mother. You were interested in being
And, yes, I'm sure I'm talking out of turn, but this is so much self-serving twaddle.
As for it not being your fault because your parents didn't teach you? Bullshite. You learn by example. You take what worked for you from your own upbringing, and discard that which doesn't work. It's not rocket science and with all those experts from Dr Spock onwards...... no excuse Miz Fonda.
Do you see them a lot?
All the time, they live five minutes away from me in Georgia. They come over for a lot of sleepovers. I play with them and ask them questions like, 'Why is Max your best friend, why do you like him? Why do you like horses more than dolls right now?' It's me and the two of them and my dog Tulea and the cat Mouse, named by my granddaughter.
translation:I love my grandkids because there is no real responsibility. I can hand them back whenever I want and I don't get into trouble if they do.
I know you have had difficult relationships with your children, is that behind you now? Are you close?
My relationship with my son has always been pretty easy, because I was older and wiser when I had him. But I had a difficult relationship with my daughter, although it has changed considerably since she became a mother. Having grandkids is like being given a second chance.
A whole four years difference... wow! I'd expect 4 years to make a difference at primary school, but an adult woman? Spare me the bleating. Now that your daughter it a mother herself it's all okay and you get along fine. Is that because you've changed or because she understands, as a parent, that there is a sense of rootedness that comes from acknowledging and celebrating your elder family members?
In your latest film you actually play a grandmother, was that strange?
I carried a photograph of Barbarella in my rear pocket [laughs]. Well, this was my first grandma role and you don't get to kiss a lot of handsome men, although you can hug a lot of tearful women. But I like being a grandma in my own life, so it was fun.
What was it like working with Lindsay Lohan on Georgia Rule? Did you have any advice for her?
I didn't give her advice because she didn't ask, so it was hard, she wasn't ready for that — she's a kid. But my heart goes out to her. My life has been a breeze compared to hers, you have no idea. I had a family, I had a father who had real values and gave me structure and expectations and integrity. He was solid. She doesn't have that and never had that, and then you lay over the kind of celebrity she's had from the time she was 12. It is understandable that she has problems. If she'd wanted advice, I would have tried to impress on her that this isn't a rehearsal, this is it, the only life we have as far as we know and you have to decide what it is you want to make of your life. Is she going to come through? I don't know, I don't know.
Your own childhood was painful in many ways — your mother Frances Seymour Brokaw committed suicide. Can you ever fully recover from that kind of tragedy?
It got easier when I discovered the truth, doing research for my book. She suffered from mental illness; she was bipolar and had been sexually abused as a child. I have studied sexual abuse because of the work I do in Georgia with my organisation, and the moment I read that I knew everything I needed to know about how that had shattered her psyche. She had nine abortions before 1937, she had breast implants as a young woman, she hated her body, she had plastic surgery and she felt guilty that she was promiscuous and I knew all these things resulted from that sexual abuse. I felt so sad for her and yet so relieved and all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place.
And your dad?
He wasn't there for me a lot of the time. He was never directly critical, but he would always get a wife to come to me and say, 'You shouldn't wear short skirts', and, 'That bikini's too small', or 'You should lose weight', because he never could tell me himself and I would overhear upsetting conversations. It was very traumatic and I can't completely heal from it. I would say I'm 90 percent healed, but it's taken a lot of intentional work on my own and with a therapist. But researching my father, I realised that he suffered from depression — it was undiagnosed because men aren't allowed to be depressed, they just drink or gamble or have sex to cover it up, but I just saw that it ran in the family. You know Prozac probably would have made the whole thing very different.
Jane, maybe you should just Get Over It. Your life has been made up of a series of situations and happenings - some good, some bad. It's not your parents' fault you made the choices you did. They may have laid some foundations that weren't the best around, but you chose to live the way you did.
I get so tired of people bleating on about how their parents did this or that and how they were so hard done by growing up. Well, guess what? Every child thinks they were hard done by, including yours truly at times. It's just that most of us don't get wrapped in a coccoon of celebrity and yes-people. We don't have the opportunity to sit around gazing at our navels and bemoaning the universal truth that Life Isn't Fair.
Never was, never will be.
At your age you should grow up already.
You have discussed many of your experiences in your book, but looking back, why do you think you allowed other women in your bed during your first marriage to Roger Vadim — and why did you decide to reveal that?
He'd been married to Brigitte Bardot before me and I never thought I could say, 'I want to be enough for you without other women.' So, if I sensed he wanted more I would arrange it. Now why does a girl agree to have other women in her bed? She doesn't necessarily want it and yet it's not all that uncommon. But when a woman tells her truth like I did in my book, it's revolutionary because we're not supposed to do that. And I think telling your own truth can help others.
This is probably about the only thing I can agree with in this article. You are relatively inexperienced, and think that you have a particular role to play. You do, but you don't realise it is not what you think, and you damage yourself and others around you. It is not about love, it is about lack of self-love.
I know you are still interested in social and political change. Who would you like to see as the next president?
I think Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards are all really good candidates. I'd like to see the war ending and the damage that Bush has done repaired internationally. I'd like us to begin to pay attention to international law and really live as a nation according to the values that we hold dear, which we haven't been doing.
Heh. No comment.
You became a Christian recently, how has that changed your life?
I was raised an atheist, so I'm trying to make up for lost time by trying to understand what it all means. I don't know how to describe it, but I realised that in order to open up to God or Buddha or whatever you want to call it, there's a humility that has to take place in the core of your being. I think when you get older you do tend to be drawn to the metaphysical because death looms, but the coming to faith for me was a very slow process over the course of a decade and it feels organic. I don't go to church. I'm a feminist progressive Christian which seems like an oxymoron, but I kind of feel Christianity has been betrayed by this notion that God is a Republican — and a man.
Read the bible, Jane. Where in the Book does it say that God is a Republican? As for being a man, He's not. Jesus, as one part of the triune God is a Man. He is God in human aspect with all the human frailties.
A feminist progressive Christian actually is an oxymoron. I have no idea which version of the bible you are reading, but it's not like any I have here.
I am the first to admit to being a poor excuse for a christian. I try very hard not to be judgemental, but I get so offended by idiotic crap like this. I can understand to a small degree what may be going through her mind, as I got my kick up the bum from God in my early 20s, but never sat down to study the bible and read it properly until the last few years. It's an ongoing eye-opener, and has shown me that a lot of what I thought and felt over the last couple of decades may have been somewhat skewwhiff.
What is next for you do you think?
I want to do a movie that's a sexy, erotic love story about people over 70. It probably won't appeal to young people — except if they are looking ahead and want to be hopeful! They will watch my film and realize there's something to look forward to and that life doesn't end at 40. I think there's a big audience of people who are yearning for this kind of film, and believe me, it will improve their sex lives.
Don't do it, Jane, please. I can assure you that the younger movie-going crowd will not be interested in seeing a couple of old wrinklies bumping uglies, and the older movie-going crowd will most likely have a bit more taste and dignity about themselves. Get over yourself and try to enjoy your age like you are pretending to.
Apologies for the lengthy post, but I've still not learned how to put jumps in. Knowing me, I'd break the template and lose my blogroll again.
*KRAFT's disease: Kan't Remember A Farking Thing.