Jane Fonda once thought her life was on the line during a harmful period at the beginning of her career.
When the actress was in her twenties, she began to suffer from an eating disorder.
“I led a secret life. I was very, very unhappy. I assumed I wouldn’t live past 30,” Fonda said during her interview on the “Call Her Daddy” podcast on Wednesday. In true Fonda fashion, the Hollywood icon joked that she doesn’t “understand” how she’s now in her eighties.
The “Grace and Frankie” star then explained that her “secret life” consisted of basically being a home body- she had a nonexistent dating life and never went out, which made her “unhappy.”
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“And then I was also making movies that I didn’t very much like,” she continued, referring to the rom-coms she led before her career took off, such as “Tall Story” (1960) and “Sunday in New York” (1963).
“It seems so innocent in the beginning,” Fonda said of her struggle with bulimia. “What you don’t realize is, it becomes a terrible addiction that takes over your life.”
The 85-year-old noted how the eating disorder affected her appearance by making her look tired and essentially obstructed her from having an “authentic relationship.”
“Your day becomes organized around getting food and then eating it, which requires that you’re by yourself and that no one knows what you’re doing. It’s a very lonely thing,” she explained. “And you’re addicted. If you put any food in you, you want to get rid of it.”
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Fonda shared how her eating disorder came during a time in her life when she wasn’t being true to herself.
“It happens when your life is inauthentic — when what you should be doing and who you should be, or who you really are, those things are being betrayed,” she told host Alex Cooper.
Her struggle with bulimia went on for two decades. While in her forties, Fonda eventually reached a point where she recalled thinking: “‘If I keep on like this, I’m gonna die.'”
At that time, the actress noted that her life “was important”- she was married to her then-husband, political activist Tom Hayden, and was also focused on motherhood- but, she wasn’t sure if she’d survive.
“I was becoming less and less able to continue it,” she added.
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Fonda then decided to go “cold turkey,” which ultimately led her to overcome her battle with bulimia.
“I didn’t realize that there were groups that you could join — I didn’t know anything about that yet. And nobody talked about it. I didn’t even know there was a word for it,” she said. “And so I just went cold turkey, and it was really hard.”
In 2015, while attending the Sundance Film Festival, Fonda told HuffPost that she “took the easy road for a while” with films like “Babrbella”, roles that she now considers unflattering.
“I would say [feeling inauthentic] ended with ‘Barbarella’,” she told the outlet at the time. “I liked doing something that caused a certain generation of men to have their first erections. But then I became an activist.”
The 1968 Sci-fi/Adventure, which the actress said “could have been a truly feminist movie,” is now being remade, starring Sydney Sweeney. The “Euphoria” actress is also set to produce the film.