Jane Fonda at an event

Few actresses hold the same iconic status as Jane Fonda. The actress celebrated her 83rd birthday in 2020 and doesn’t seem to be slowing down!

Jane Fonda is the daughter of actor Henry Fonda, but her real interest in acting began with acting lessons at the famous Lee Strasberg School (via Biography). Soon, she was appearing in films like "Tall Story" and "The Chapman Report" in the 1960s. By the 1970s, she had bagged herself two Academy Awards and launched a hugely successful fitness empire. After a lengthy 15-year break from acting, Fonda returned to the screen in the 2005 comedy "Monster-in-Law." In 2015, she starred in the popular series "Grace and Frankie." Throughout all of this, she has remained a passionate, dedicated, and often radical activist, using her platform to promote Black liberation, pacifism, women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, environmentalism, and more.

Over the course of Fonda’s career, spanning over six decades, she has amassed numerous generations of fans. If you’re one of them, you may want to find out a little more about the legendary star. Here are some of the things you never knew about Jane Fonda.

Jane Fonda was once friends with this Hollywood superstar

Young Jane Fonda in a photoshoot

Jane Fonda studied acting at the Lee Strasberg school in the 1950s (via Forbes). One of her classmates was none other than Marilyn Monroe. While Fonda and Monroe never worked together professionally, they did strike up a friendship.

As Fonda recalled to The New York Times, "I think she liked me because she sensed my insecurities and she was drawn to vulnerable things." Of course, throughout the ’50s, Monroe’s career took off with roles in films like "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and "How to Marry a Millionaire," so Fonda’s friendship with her started to become pretty interesting. In fact, Fonda once noticed her friend walk into a party, and the "men there started to shake." However, apparently, Monroe was only interested in talking to Fonda! Plus, it sounds like Fonda was pretty taken with Monroe herself. "There was a glow coming out of her that was unbelievable!" she gushed. Sounds like these two were super close back in the day.

Here’s why Jane Fonda got plastic surgery

Closeup of Jane Fonda

Jane Fonda may not strike you as the type of person who would get plastic surgery, but, as many fans may know, she has had several procedures done. As the actress explained in an interview on "Anderson Live," she wrote a book about aging, so she’s always felt it was important to be open about her surgery. Fonda hadn’t always planned on getting plastic surgery. In fact, she once made a vow with a friend to never get anything done. "So, I lied," she said to Anderson Cooper. "I do feel like I look more like how I feel inside and that makes me feel good inside," she said. For Fonda, getting plastic surgery was not about looking better; it was about looking more like herself.

In another interview on "The Diane Rehm Show," Fonda explained that she first made the decision to get surgery when she realized that she no longer recognized her own reflection.

Even though Fonda is happy with her procedures, her days of going under the needle are over. As she told Elle Canada in 2020, "There isn’t going to be any more plastic surgery — I’m not going to cut myself up anymore. I have to work every day to be self-accepting."

Music plays an important part in Jane Fonda’s life

Jane Fonda posing

Wondering what kind of music Jane Fonda loves to listen to? Well, you may be surprised to learn that the actress is a big fan of liturgical music. As she said in an interview with ABC Australia, "It takes my soul heavenwards; it brings me into a cathedral and makes my deepest self want to rise up to the heavens." In the interview, she chose the song "Sanctus" as sung by the Benedictine Monks of Santa Domingo De Silos as a favorite music choice. For Fonda, this kind of music helps her become inspired. She even listens to it when she’s writing or praying.

She also has a fondness for classical music. For the interview, she selected three classical pieces: a concerto by Mozart, "Gymopedie No.1" by Erik Satie, and a piece by Ottorino Respighi. As Fonda said in an interview for the Golden Globes, she often uses music to get into character. In fact, she used the Satie piece as backstage preparation for her first Broadway play. Sounds like music plays a much bigger part in Fonda’s life than we realized.

Jane Fonda is a vocal spokesperson for CBD

Jane Fonda's Uncle Bud campaign

We all know that Jane Fonda is a proud activist — but did you know that she also promotes CBD? In an interview with Forbes, the actress revealed that she had "smoked pot" in the past. For her, the experience hadn’t been a pleasant one at first. She had felt paranoid and hungry. However, she changed her opinion over the years. "Then came along all the scientific approaches to cannabis. And it’s really amazing what’s happened, the way they’ve been able to segment out different parts of the weed. It’s very impressive," she explained.

Fonda began using CBD to get to sleep. She also uses hemp in her clothes and in her skin care. "Hemp is like a miracle product," Fonda gushed. For her, the appeal of CBD isn’t just in how versatile and useful it is. It’s also about how it’s produced. "It can be a homegrown, local, decentralized product that can be in the control of people who’ve been marginalized in the past. And that’s why I like it," she said.

This is how Jane Fonda gets ready for bed

Jane Fonda in an ad for L'Oreal

In 2021, Jane Fonda spoke to Self about her nighttime routine — and we have to say, it sounds pretty amazing. She starts things off by vaping CBD to help her sleep. Then, at 6 p.m., she gets started on her skincare routine. This consists of putting a rich cream on her legs and arms, washing her face, and putting on tonic, toner, and face spray. And, of course, brushing her teeth. Then, she sometimes uses a CBD oil overnight mask or an anti-wrinkle cream.

By 6:30 or 7 p.m., Fonda’s in bed. "I have a bed where you can lift up the head and lift up the feet. … So I raise the head and I raise the feet, and I start to watch television," she said. She favors MSNBC and usually watches Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow, and Lawrence O’Donnell. She also loves to stream movies. By 9:30 or 10 p.m., she’s asleep — with the help of her weighted blanket. "I go to sleep so easily, and I sleep all night, and it’s divine," she explained. That sounds ideal to us!

Jane Fonda has a practical beauty routine

Jane Fonda posing

Jane Fonda has always been considered a Hollywood beauty — even (perhaps especially) as she’s gotten older. For Fonda, beauty has always been important. As she explained to Allure, her philosophy is, "[just] because you’re an activist and a feminist doesn’t mean that you can’t look good."

As she’s gotten older, however, Fonda’s makeup routine has changed. For one thing, she now has darker circles under her eyes which need extra highlighter. Plus, her lips have become "less distinct," so she always uses a lip pencil. For protests, Fonda has a specific routine: "I put some blush on, I put a black liner on my eyes, I curl my eyelashes, I put black mascara on the upper lashes and the lower lashes," she said.

However, when Fonda’s staying home, she doesn’t put in the same effort. As she put it, "I don’t do anything except put moisturizer on."

Her breast cancer diagnosis taught her something about herself

Jane Fonda smiling

In 2010, Jane Fonda revealed that she had undergone a surgery for breast cancer (via Vogue). For the actress, the illness taught her something about herself. "That was a good test," Fonda told "Oprah’s Next Chapter" about her illness, "because I always said, ‘I’m not afraid of dying,’ and I wasn’t." Instead of panicking about the prospect of death, Fonda found that she was very calm.

Fonda’s calmness about death is certainly admirable, and it might have something to do with how she views death as a concept. In an interview on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," Fonda explained that she believes that some part of you remains after death. "If people love you, you remain in their memory energetically," she said. Apparently, Fonda often feels the presence of her father’s spirit. With a lovely theory like this, it’s no wonder she isn’t afraid of death.

The actress has always stood up for her radical beliefs

Jane Fonda's 1970 mugshot

Jane Fonda has two personas — Jane Fonda the actress and Jane Fonda the activist. Each side of her is as important as the other. As an activist, she has made headlines on numerous occasions and has been arrested six times. The first time, in 1970, she was arrested after an anti-Vietnam War protest. Her mugshot, in which she raised a fist, made history (via Evening Standard). In 2020, she was arrested five times during protests against the US government’s response to the climate crisis.

As she told The Guardian, she rarely gets scared — even when being arrested or worse. "The fear part — I don’t know why this is true, but I am very rarely afraid. I’ve been in all kinds of situations: I’ve been shot at, I’ve had bombs dropped on me; but I tend not to be afraid," she said. It’s clear that for Fonda, activism requires bravery — and she’s got loads of it!

These are the activist movements Jane Fonda has always been passionate about

Jane Fonda at a protest

So, what exactly are the causes that Jane Fonda has supported during her career as an activist? Well, there are quite a few. As she told Interview, she is a huge supporter of the Civil Rights Movement. Back in the ’70s, she was involved with the Black Panthers. She helped them raise money for bail. She explained, "It became clear to me that members of the Black Panther Party that had been imprisoned were political prisoners. They had not committed crimes, except for the crime of fighting for Black liberation."

She’s also passionate about climate change. As she explained, listening to Greta Thunberg helped her realize the importance of the issue. "I knew right away that I had to do more than I’d been doing. I’ve been marching and protesting and driving an electric car, all of that, but I knew that I had to step it up as a celebrity with a platform, and that what I would do is move to D.C.," she said.

In 2020, a video of Fonda speaking about LGBTQ+ rights from 1979 resurfaced and went viral (via Independent). She has also supported women’s rights, Native American rights, and pacifism during the Vietnam War (via Time).

Here’s what Jane Fonda regrets as a parent

Jane Fonda with her children

Let’s face it — parenting is never easy. Jane Fonda has three children, and as she explained to Your Teen, she has a few regrets about how she raised them. She even wrote a book for teens after reflecting on her parenting experience. "My childhood didn’t teach me how to be a very good parent," she said. "Maybe that’s one reason why I needed to write the book. I’ve been studying parenting for almost 20 years."

As Fonda went on to explain, she didn’t always communicate as well as she could have. Plus, she was often away from home for work. "I hate to think it, but I sort of repeated some of my parents’ mistakes," she said. For example, Fonda wished she had been more open about the human body and sexuality. Another regret is that she didn’t instill in her children the meaning of a healthy relationship.

Even though Fonda has some regrets about how she raised her children, it’s clear that she learned a lot from the experience.

Jane Fonda is only interested in dating younger men

Jane Fonda on a video interview

Jane Fonda has had her fair share of relationships. In fact, she has been married three times! As of 2021, however, she’s happily single. And while she’s still open to dating, she does have a pretty specific criteria about her potential new partner.

As she told Harper’s Bazaar, she’d only consider dating younger men. "The problem is that, like a man, I would want a younger man. Isn’t that awful?" she confessed. "It’s a thing about skin. I would want a younger man, and I’m too vain." Fonda admits that she fantasizes about her perfect dating scenario: In Fonda’s fantasy, she meets a "professor or a researcher" who helps to teach her how to be truly intimate. And, of course, in her fantasy, he’s a little younger. We have to applaud Fonda’s honesty — at least after all these years and relationships, she finally knows exactly what she’s looking for!

Jane Fonda regrets this missed opportunity

Young Jane Fonda

Jane Fonda has had a pretty exciting life. As she told Tiffany Haddish on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," there was one missed opportunity that she still thinks about to this day. Apparently, Fonda once met Marvin Gaye, and she regrets that she didn’t sleep with him!

As Fonda explained, she had been married to Tom Hayden at the time. He was running for the U.S. Senate and Fonda was helping by getting musicians to support him. "Marvin asked to meet with me, so I did, in a bar," she recalled. "We had a long talk and it was clear it could have happened if I’d wanted." Fonda decided not to sleep with Gaye because she was married — but it seems that this missed opportunity still plays on her mind. "He’s so beautiful and his music’s so beautiful," she gushed. We can hardly blame her for regretting letting this opportunity pass her by!

The actress loves accepting herself as an older woman

Jane Fonda on the red carpet

Jane Fonda just seems to get better and better with age. And she’s completely embraced aging! In a 2021 interview with Ellen DeGeneres, Fonda explained that she was "so happy" to have finally embraced her natural gray hair. "Enough already, with so much time wasted, so much money spent, so many chemicals, I’m through with that," she exclaimed.

In another interview with Amanda de Cadenet, she opened up more about the aging process. "It’s been easier for me than most," she said, explaining that she had never felt like a "great beauty." Nevertheless, Fonda sometimes found it hard to accept herself as she aged, because, as she explained, she used to think that she had to be "perfect" to be loved. Of course, with age came more self-confidence. "Whatever is not there physically that used to be there doesn’t bother me that much," she said. That’s definitely an approach to aging that we can all take some inspiration from.

Jane Fonda had an interesting experience working with Katherine Hepburn

Katharine Hepburn and Jane Fonda in "On Golden Pond"

In 1981, Jane Fonda starred alongside silver-screen legend Katharine Hepburn in the film "On Golden Pond." Even though both actresses were well-respected in the industry, it turns out, Fonda got a pretty frosty reception from her costar. In an interview with Marlo Thomas, Fonda recalled, "The first thing she said to me was, ‘I don’t like you.’" Apparently, Hepburn didn’t like the fact that Fonda was married and had children as she thought this would get in the way of her craft.

Nevertheless, even though Hepburn didn’t like Fonda, the older actress imparted her wisdom to Fonda. As she put it, Hepburn was like an "elder" who passed on her craft to younger actresses. "She had a greatness about her and she taught me a lot," she said. For one thing, Hepburn made Fonda do a backflip into the lake for a scene, even though Fonda had initially wanted to use a body double. After a month of rehearsals, Fonda finally managed to do the flip — which, she explained, earned Hepburn’s respect. It sounds like Hepburn was a very tough costar!