Sunday 25 August 2019

Jane Fonda says she had nervous breakdown while filming Netflix series

The actress said she needed therapy and medication.

Jane Fonda (Ian West/PA)
Jane Fonda (Ian West/PA)

By Laura Harding, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Jane Fonda says she had a nervous breakdown while filming the first series of her Netflix comedy Grace And Frankie.

The actress, who stars in the series with Lily Tomlin, said the storyline of two women who are left by their husbands triggered her feelings of abandonment.

She told The Hollywood Reporter: “It took me a season to come to care for my character. I had to go back into therapy and start Prozac.

“It took me a long time to figure out [my relationship to this character]. I had a nervous breakdown during the first season and I discovered it’s because the very first episode our husbands tell us that they are going to leave us after 40 years and marry each other and that triggered abandonment.”

Choking back tears, she added: “Oh, this is not a good thing to talk about.

“It was a big trigger, and I didn’t realise that a character in a comedy could actually trigger something very profound.

“And so I love her and I learned to invite her into the room. After the first season, I couldn’t have written a backstory for her; and then I wrote 30 pages without ever stopping.

“But I don’t really want to have to be anything like her. We have too much in common as it is.”

Fonda also offered her theory on why the subject of older female sexuality is finally being addressed in stories now, saying: “[Our] culture doesn’t like people with wrinkles to be talking about sex. And kids don’t like to think about their parents doing it, either.

“But the fastest-growing demographic in the world is older women, and a lot of them are doing it very pleasurably. I wrote a book about it and I gave it to the writers.

“When I was in my 40s, I said before I die I want to be part of giving a cultural face to older women, and I can’t tell you how much feedback Lily [Tomlin] and I get from older women who say it’s given them hope — and not-so-old women who say, ‘I now see another way forward’.”

PA Media

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