Jane Fonda: I was not the kind of mother I wished I had been

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I don’t know anything about Jane Fonda’s children. Up until this article, if you’d wagered with me to guess how many she had, you would have won. Too late though, I have the answer now. Jane has three children (from left to right above): Vanessa Vadim, Troy Garity and Mary Williams. While speaking to Chris Wallace, Jane said she wasn’t the mom to her kids she wished she’s been but she’s trying to make up for it. She said she didn’t know how to be a mom back then, but she’s studied parenting since and is working on showing up for them now.

Jane Fonda is getting candid about motherhood.

The legendary actress, 85, has admitted she wasn’t the mom she wished she had been to her three children in a new interview with CNN’s Chris Wallace.

Fonda — who is mom to daughters Mary Williams, 55, and Vanessa Vadim, 54, plus son Troy Garity, 49 — said, “I was not the kind of mother that I wished that I had been to my children. I have great, great children — talented, smart. And I just didn’t know how to do it.”

“I’ve studied parenting, and I know what it’s supposed to be now. I didn’t know then. So I’m trying to show up now,” added the 80 for Brady star in the interview, which aired February 19 on CNN.

Fonda shares actor Troy with her late second husband Tom Hayden. The pair also adopted now-social activist and author Mary, who released a memoir called The Lost Daughter in 2013 about her upbringing. Fonda shares Vanessa with her late first husband, screenwriter and producer Roger Vadim.

[From People]

This is a really hard thing for a parent to admit, especially on national television. Jane has gone on record about her own relationship with her father, Henry Fonda. If she didn’t have a great example of loving parenting, it would have been hard for her to know how to model herself as a parent. Plus, I can’t imagine Vadim or Hayden were easy to co-parent with (or Ted Turner, for that matter). As Jane said, she wasn’t the mother she wished she was, not that she was a terrible mother. Her kids, from the brief look I did, are great, just as she said. Troy founded a gang prevention coalition and is the chairman for another gang prevention group. Vanessa is director and cinematographer (and random – I just realized I happen to know her husband). The article said Jane and Hayden adopted Mary, but Wiki said they never formerly did. They raised her from when she was an adolescent, though. Mary’s a fascinating woman and I want to read The Lost Daughter. In many ways Jane was the only one who showed up for her, which is how she came to live with the Haydens. But I’m sure it was more complicated than that.

The thing about Jane is she does study. She never assumes it’s too late for her and walks away. I love that she’s still evolving as a mother at 85. I have no idea what her kids would say about her. Maybe she has something to answer for, maybe she’s being too hard on herself. But I have to believe that if she’s still trying to make it right, make it better, she’s a better mom than she’s giving herself credit.

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