Jane Fonda: At 85 I’m ‘the happiest I’ve ever been’

Now this is the kind of energy we need. 85-year old Jane Fonda is here to tell us women “that life gets better with age.” Maybe she’s telling everyone that but I’m feeling the feminine energy this morning. Jane is promoting Book Club: The Next Chapter, the sequel to Book Club that also stars Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen, Don Johnson, Craig T Nelson, and Andy Garcia. I actually really enjoyed the first one and the trailers for this one look fun. The premise is Jane’s character is marrying Don Johnson, which was a surprisingly sexy and fabulous paring in the first film. The ladies go to Italy and kookiness ensues, but in a fun and Italian way. So I’m in. It makes sense, then, that People would want to explore starting over with Jane in her cover article. Not only is her character getting married in the movie, Jane has recently gone into remission for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma just last year. With everything she’s been through in her long life, Jane says she’s, “the happiest I’ve ever been.”

Jane Fonda says getting older is not something to fear but something to celebrate. At 85, the legendary star is busier than ever and calls this chapter of her life “the happiest I’ve ever been.”

The Oscar-winning star has four films out this year, including the comedy Book Club: The Next Chapter, in theaters May 12. Fonda says filming the sequel to her 2019 rom-com hit Book Club with friends Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen in Italy was “a dream come true.”

“It’s everything I imagined women’s friendships can be,” Fonda says of their bond. “When I was younger, there was this assumption that women were kind of catty and four stars working together wouldn’t work because they’d be competing, and it’s just not true. We’re friends and we love working together and we help each other when we need to.”

She adds that one of the many perks of getting older is learning what really matters in life.

“A bad thing happens, and you think, ‘Well, that’s happened before, and I’m fine. I’ll get over it.’ You know what’s important. I spent a lot of time like a canoe with no paddle being carried in the current. As I got older, I learned I’m going to put an oar in the water and steer.”

[From People]

Jane is really into her female friendship these days. I get it, she put so much of herself into her marriages, she probably didn’t get to explore too many women-led relationships in the past. I’ve seen a couple of interviews with Sally Fields, Diane Keaton and other co-stars who said Jane simply would not leave them alone. They loved her, but they were more stay-at-home, not-respond kind of people and Jane kept at them to spend time and do stuff together. Every homebody needs that person. I do. I need that friend to get out and spend real time in the world (and if she’s reading, we’ll plan to go see this film). I need to listen to my person too, because female friendships are truly wonderful but they need nurturing.

I like Jane’s point about reaching an age that fear is manageable because we’ve faced so much already. It’s true. Each decade comes with a bit more peace. I don’t think life is going to get easier by any stretch, but it will likely be less scary because of what we’ve overcome.

Here’s the trailer for Book Club: The Next Chapter

Embed from Getty Images

Photo credit: People, Getty Images and Cover Images

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22 Responses to “Jane Fonda: At 85 I’m ‘the happiest I’ve ever been’”

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  1. Katie Beanstalk says:

    She has such a good vibe. It’s refreshing to have a star that’s not bitter or angry at someone.

    • BothSidesNow says:

      She does have a great vibe to her and she seems to surround herself with people that she cares about and has passion too!! Lilly Tomlin is another example of a woman that has great energy as well. There are millions of women in everyday life that have great energy, it’s not limited to the elite.

      We are seeing that at any age we can enjoy the most that life has to offer us and still have the same passion we had at 25 and when we are 75!

  2. The Old Chick says:

    I like her but to be fair, being rich absolutely helps.

  3. Concern Fae says:

    I live Jane. Lived my whole life with her giving interviews for every project saying “Now I’m really happy. So glad I’ve reached this age where I’ve figured things out.” LOL

    But seriously, she’s fantastic. Really recommend the You Must Remember This podcast’s season on Jane Fonda and Jean Seberg. They were the same age and looking at the paths their lives took both tells you a lot about them, and the options open to women in the 60s and 70s.

    • Nikki says:

      What were their takes, in a nutshell?

    • Lizzie Bathory says:

      I also found the “Jean & Jane” part of that podcast fascinating. I get the sense that Jane didn’t expect to have a long life so she’s relishing her time.

    • Barb Mill says:

      She was the first guest on Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s new podcast Wiser than Me – Julia Louis-Dreyfus wants to know why the hell we don’t hear more from older women, so she’s sitting down with Jane Fonda, Carol Burnett, Amy Tan, Diane von Furstenberg, Isabel Allende and Fran Lebowitz (and more!) to get schooled in how to live a full and meaningful life.
      I have only listened to Jane but it was fantastic and I plan on listening to them all.

  4. Nikki says:

    When you’re that old and have money, you can just take care of YOURSELF, and you’ve lived long enough that you don’t sweat the small stuff. So it makes sense to me. She’s also done a lot in her life she can look back and be proud of, and has good friends and family. At that age, you know life’s very limited, so you’re more grateful for each day (if you are not in mental or physical agony.)

    • Orangeowl says:

      Agreed. She is extremely fortunate. And such a contrast to my mom, who’s around her age, who has dementia and a bunch of other chronic medical issues. She’s angry, miserable and fearful of death. She can’t seem to find a measure of peace or reflect on all the good in her life. Instead all she can do is focus on regrets. It’s sad and our family feels helpless.

      • Nikki says:

        Wow, Orangeowl, I’m so sorry for your mom AND for you. Some people are examples who I hope to copy as I age, and others are warnings of what I hope to avoid. Chronic illness takes a terrible toll on one’s emotion and outlook, however, so it is what it is.

  5. Sean says:

    I love her attitude. If I live to see 85, I hope I can say the same.

  6. SAS says:

    Honestly, my dad has chilled so much in his late 70s and 80s. His kids are all doing great, he’s still working but not like crazy, his health is good, he just seems to have clicked into a “I’m not going to be here forever, may as well have fun” mode. It’s SO different from the dad I grew up with. Happy for Jane!

  7. Wardnor says:

    I’m 40 and i agree 100% I used to crumble like a cookie at any minor problem and now I always tell myself “well you have face this before and you’re fine and you’ll be fine”

  8. theRobinsons says:

    Looking good, Jane.

  9. HeyKay says:

    Good health and lots of money makes everything easier.

  10. Jeannine says:

    This makes me hopeful for the future. To take care of myself and have a community of women whom I love around me. It reminds me of those women who live in tiny houses and visit their spouses in their tiny houses. Contentment. Also, I had a friend who did lots of non-profit international field work and found that the longer you do it, the more you can relax into knowing that your worries work out. That is how I took her comment about living longer and worrying less.

  11. MELI says:

    BTW if you are one of those people who allow others to always plan and harass you to go out…we do eventually stop and find other people to spend time with. So do not sit back and let others do all the work for you. That sh*t gets old yo.

    I literally had to ask a friend of 15years to make more of an effort to make plans for us and when she didn’t, I was done.

    • Nikki says:

      Ha, ha MELI: I was shocked reading an interview with a very old, very vibrant woman. The interviewer asked some of her secrets to staying vibrant, and she basically said “Dump your friends when they refuse to keep growing, and get new ones!” I thought she’d say to keep your dear old friends! The more I thought about it, though, people do react differently to aging, and some just become people you don’t want to spend time with any longer.

  12. j.ferber says:

    I’m so happy that she’s happy. Good on you, Jane!

  13. Anna says:

    She is a horrible person. You really need to educate yourself about her traitorous actions during Vietnam. You literally have zero clue on this website.

  14. bisynaptic says:

    Long live Jane!