Jane Fonda Thought She'd Never Live to 30: 'I Assumed I'd Die Lonely and an Addict'

On Dec. 21, Jane Fonda turned 80 years old, but in a new interview with PEOPLE, the actress said she never even expected to make it to 30.

"I assumed I wouldn't live very long and that I would die lonely and an addict of some sort," she said. "I didn't think if I did live this long, that I would be vibrant and healthy and still working. I'm grateful."

Over the course of the interview, Fonda takes a macroscopic look at her whole life, including her childhood as the daughter of a Hollywood icon and a troubled socialite. Fonda's mother, Frances, died by suicide when Jane was only 12, while her father was an emotionally distant figure in her life.

Fonda says she led a "fraught adolescence," yet she turned that experience into something constructive. She talked at length about her charity, the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power and Potential, which supports the health and well-being of teens while aiming to prevent premature pregnancy.

She told reporters that her proudest memory is of accepting her father's Oscar for On Golden Pond after the Academy made amends.


As for her biggest regret, Fonda says "I tell my kids I'm sorry" for not spending more time with them.

Fonda has plenty more to be proud of in her 80 years. Though she's often remembered as an inspirational figure in the fitness world, she says she's much more focused on her inner self-improvement. "I'm thankful that I've gotten better over the 80 years," she says. "I'm less judgmental. I'm forgiving. It wasn't always true. I've really worked hard to get better as a human being."