Jane Fonda Admits Her Biggest Regret

Throughout her lengthy career, actress Jane Fonda has held many, many different kinds of roles. But now that she is reaching the end of her career, she has had time to look back and examine it from start to finish. But there is one part of her career that she regrets entirely, and it has to do with the actions and words she used to earn the nickname “Hanoi Jane” during the Vietnam War.

During an interview with Megyn Kelly before she was fired by NBC, Kelly asked Jane Fonda about her plastic surgery. She also told Fonda that the actor was in no position to criticize other people given what she did during the Vietnam War. That’s when Fonda opened up again about how much she regretted her actions during the war.

Kelly told her audience at NBC, “Look at her treatment of our military during the Vietnam War. Many of our veterans still call her ‘Hanoi Jane’ thanks to her radio broadcasts, which attempted to shame American troops. She posed on an antiaircraft gun used to shoot down our American pilots.”

Kelly, who used to have a job with Fox News before she left that only to get fired from NBC, said that Fonda, “called our P.O.W.s’ hypocrites and liars’ and referred to their torture as ‘understandable.’ And she said that she ‘had to apologize years later for that gun picture, but not for the rest of it.”

The infamous photo shows Jane Fonda wearing a helmet while posing on an enemy antiaircraft gun.

Fonda has been open about her regret concerning the actions that earned her the name of Hanoi Jane for a while now. Back in 2011, she wrote on her website the following:

“There is one thing that happened while in North Vietnam that I will regret to my dying day. I allowed myself to be photographed on a Vietnamese antiaircraft gun. I want to, once again, explain how that came about. I have talked about this numerous times on national television and in my memoirs, ‘My Life So Far,’ but clearly it needs to be repeated.”

Fonda made it clear that she was not the only person to visit North Vietnam during the war.

“Journalists, diplomats, peace activists, professors, religious leaders and Vietnam Veterans themselves” all traveled to the enemy territory to try to put a stop to the long, painful war.

Facts about Jane Fonda

Jane is the daughter of legendary actor Henry Fonda and troubled socialite Frances Ford Brokaw. The jet-set pair had Jane on December 21, 1937 in New York City, just a few days shy of Christmas.

Fonda has a famous namesake: King Henry VIII’s beloved and doomed wife Jane Seymour. Seymour is a distant ancestor of Fonda’s mother.

Fonda is unashamed of her naughty side: She’s proudly admitted to being a member of the “Mile High Club.”

As a young actress, Fonda had an extremely troubled love life. She was married no less than three times, with each union ending in divorce. Her first husband was famed director Roger Vadim—but though it lasted almost a decade on paper, she married her second husband, activist Tom Hayden, just three days after finalizing her first divorce. Talk about messy.

In her early career, Fonda was infamous for her sexpot good looks in films like Barbarella. It paid off. In 1995, Empire magazine named Fonda one of the sexiest stars of all time; she came in at 21.

The Fondas were truly an acting dynasty. Jane followed her father Henry’s footsteps to Hollywood, but so did her baby brother Peter Fonda. The youngest Fonda gained his own fame for the revolutionary film Easy Rider.

Despite their reputation as the golden family of Hollywood, the Fondas hid a dark secret behind the scenes. Though she looked glamorous and perfect, Jane’s mother Frances actually struggled mightily with her mental health. In 1950, she lost her battle and tragically committed suicide while seeking treatment at Craig House psychiatric hospital.

Fonda was legendarily beautiful as a young girl. She was even a successful model before she was a household name in Hollywood, and appeared on the cover of Vogue twice before getting into acting.

Fonda adored her dad, but his love was often cruel. Henry was a strict and distant 1950s father, and he even wanted to control how his daughter looked. As Jane later confessed, “I was taught by my father that how I looked was all that mattered, frankly. He was a good man, and I was mad for him, but he sent messages to me that fathers should not send: Unless you look perfect, you’re not going to be loved.”

She attended Vassar College briefly, but dropped out to fly to Paris and study art for six months instead. Now that’s what I call a study abroad opportunity.

Fonda’s marriage to Tom Hayden was desperately unhappy. Obsessive and controlling, Hayden was deeply uncomfortable when Fonda showed any signs of her wealth, and the couple lived in a very modest house together. Reportedly, Hayden even got sick of the sight of Fonda’s expensive Cartier watch, so she had to change it to a Timex. What would you know? They divorced in 1990.

In 1970, Fonda started getting a bad reputation, particularly after one explosive incident at the Cleveland airport. After finding a whopping 105 bottles in her luggage that contained roughly 2,000 pills, authorities arrested the starlet. Then things got even worse. Fonda reacted to the arrest by allegedly kicking both a patrolman and a customs agent.

But appearances can be deceiving. The government actually dropped the charges on Fonda after learning the real story. For one, the pills were vitamins and legitimate prescriptions. As for the assault charges? Police dropped them too after they discovered that the customs agent had chased Fonda into the women’s restroom.

Fonda’s life in the spotlight had devastating consequences. She started modelling in her vulnerable teenage years and picked up some bad habits along the way. She’s since confessed that during that time, she started suffering from an eating disorder—bulimia more specifically—that followed her well into her 30s.

As a young woman, she says she mostly survived on coffee, cigarettes, and strawberry yogurt.

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