The stunning transformation of Jane Fonda

Legendary actress Jane Fonda is not only an acclaimed, two-time Academy Award-winning actress and physical fitness guru of the 80s, she has also been a powerful voice for women, the downtrodden, and veterans for several decades.

Born in 1937 into Hollywood royalty, Fonda is not only beautiful at 79, she continues to fight for what is right in this world, all the while entertaining us with her magnetic charisma.

The driven actress has constantly transformed herself during her extraordinary life: her struggles for recognition, love, and being a good mother seem to mirror our own lives, as women. Her journey is a testament to the power of transformation and adapting to all that life can throw your way.

Here's a look at the stunning transformation of Jane Fonda — the living epitome of "been-there, done-that."

A dysfunctional childhood

As the daughter of acclaimed actor Henry Fonda and sister to Peter, a young Fonda seemed destined to follow in the footsteps of her famous father. Born Lady Jayne Seymour Fonda on Dec. 21, 1937, in New York City, she attended boarding school and Vassar College before dropping out, to head to Paris to study art.

Fonda seems to have been driven by a childhood that was plagued by dysfunction. Her father was reportedly cold and distant, and her mother committed suicide when she was only 12. Her troubled childhood led Fonda to a battle with eating disorders that haunted her for years, according to Biography.com.

After her return to New York City from Paris, Fonda embarked on a modeling career before becoming an actress, then starring alongside her father in The Country Girl in 1954. In 2016, Fonda said she blamed her father for her issues with bulimia. "My father would send my stepmother to tell me to lose weight and wear longer skirts. One of my stepmothers told me all the ways I'd have to change physically if I wanted a boyfriend," Fonda wrote in the Lenny newsletter.

Becoming a sex kitten

Early on in her career, Fonda's youth and good looks led her to star in a series of films that earned her quite the reputation: sex kitten. In fact, many saw Fonda as the American version of French sex bombshell, Bridgette Bardot. But Fonda wasn't buying it, "I'm nothing like Bardot, and she's nothing like me."

For the sexy, sci-fi flick, Barbarella, Fonda was dressed in a series of body-revealing costumes, something she would later come to regret. "For a long time, I couldn't look at it," Fonda said in a 60 Minutes interview. "I thought that it was politically incorrect, you know." Later, she said she lightened up a bit and found the role "charming."

Marriage to Roger Vadim

Ironically, Fonda went on to marry the ex-husband of Bridgette Bardot, Roger Vadim, in 1965. The marriage would last seven years and produce a daughter, Vanessa, in 1968. Fonda married three times, admitting that she allowed each of her husbands to reinvent her. In fact, it was Vadim — a promiscuous ladies man — who ignited her sexuality and encouraged her to embrace the sex kitten brand.

Fonda says her early relationship with Vadim was life-altering, and came at a time when she could just be herself. "I thought my heart would burst," she told Vanity Fair in 2002. "What Vadim gave me was huge. Huge. He reawakened me sexually…There's no doubt that part of my attraction to him and his life was because it was so different from the repressed style in which I had been raised."

Ultimately, Vadim's frivolous playboy lifestyle proved exasperating for Fonda. Rather than partying her life away, gallivanting across Europe, she longed for a life filled with more meaning.

The activist

After her marriage with Vadim ended, Fonda returned to the states — after being exposed to leftist, war-opposing, French intellectuals — and entered into her life-long passion for political activism. In 1973, she married fellow activist and former California senator Tom Hayden, and together they would battle the injustices they saw in the world. They would eventually divorce in 1990, after producing a son, Troy.

She worked tirelessly, opposing the Vietnam War and supporting the Civil Rights movement. But her passion and remarks, at times, got her into some controversy with many veterans and supporters of the war, who lashed out at the actress. She was highly criticized for a trip to Hanoi, where she was photographed singing a song with the North Vietnamese at a gun site — a move she later called an "unforgivable mistake," and one that she "will take to her grave."

Years later, Fonda told Barbara Walters in a 20/20 interview that she regretted hurting or disrespecting Vietnam veterans and their families. "I would like to say something, not just to Vietnam veterans in New England, but to men who were in Vietnam, who I hurt, or whose pain I caused to deepen because of things that I said or did," she said. "I was trying to help end the killing and the war, but there were times when I was thoughtless and careless about it and I'm very sorry that I hurt them. And I want to apologize to them and their families."

She is still as politically vocal today, and has called President Donald Trump the "predator in chief," for his stance on the Standing Rock protest, among other issues.

Marrying Ted

In 1991, Fonda would marry CNN tycoon Ted Turner — a marriage that her adopted daughter, Mary Williams, said "ate her alive," according to Williams' memoir, The Lost Daughter.

By the end of their troubled marriage, in which Ted would cheat with numerous women, Fonda had become a fragile shell of her former self. "While Ted was his usual upbeat self, my mom was greatly diminished physically and emotionally," Williams remembered in her book. "She'd lost a lot of weight from her already tiny frame. Though she continued to put up a front that screamed 'Everything's fine!' I could see things were not. Emotionally, she was shutting down."

In a January 2012 episode of Oprah's Master Class, Fonda commented on the difficult period following her split from Turner. "I remember when I was 62 and I had done something that was very, very, very painful and difficult," she said, "I had left Ted Turner, my third husband, who I loved very, very much." During her difficult years with Turner, Fonda would become a born again Christian, attesting to her ability to display strength in times of trouble.

The philanthropist

Along with activism, Fonda has also been very active with charitable organizations, focusing her energy in supporting youth and education, adolescent reproductive health, the environment, human services, and the arts. She founded several organizations, including the Jane Fonda Foundation, which she began in 2005, with $1 million of her own money.

In the mid 1990s, while married to Ted Turner, Fonda founded the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential (GCAPP). At the time, Georgia led the nation with the highest rate of adolescent pregnancy. Other organizations associated with Fonda include the Emory University Jane Fonda Center, The Women's Media Center, V-DAY, and the Thomasville Community Resource Center.

Throughout, Fonda has faced backlash over her very vocal support of causes and issues — but controversies have never silenced her. "I'm a controversial person, right? Coming from Hollywood I was looked on with suspicion as an elitist. I move to Georgia (after marrying media mogul Ted Turner) and I work in adolescent sexuality — again controversial," she told Variety, of her work with Georgia teens and the roadblocks she faced.

Maintaining her fitness and appearance

Fonda has worked very hard to continue to look the way she does — sexy and beautiful, in her 70s. In fact, she has devoted a good portion of her life encouraging women to look and feel their very best.

A 1980s aerobics guru, her original workout video, released in 1984, became the biggest-selling video of all time. Since then, Fonda has released dozens more fitness and wellbeing videos. "People are still doing them!" Fonda told Shape in 2014, on the 30th anniversary of the iconic, original workout video. "People have been doing the original workouts consistently for the past 30 years. It's wonderful that there are such a variety of things out there now."

After conquering her eating disorder, Fonda adopted a healthy eating program. "I'm careful what I eat. I eat fresh fruits and vegetables, fish and chicken," Fonda told the magazine. "I had lamb chops for my birthday and tonight I'm gonna have pork chops! But I stay away from desserts. I try to minimize the carbs and stay away from sugars. And most importantly, I meditate. I started when I was approaching 70. It reduces stress and anxiety and it keeps me centered and grounded." Obviously, her hard work has paid off — it's impossible to think this beauty will be 80 in December!

Coming out about plastic surgery

Fonda has admitted that she has had plastic surgery, and is quick to tell people that the work on her face has subtracted a decade from her appearance. In her official blog, Fonda was quite frank in sharing that she had plastic surgery in 2010, freshening up her chin, neck, and eyes.

While not necessarily proud that she had surgery for a more youthful appearance, Fonda does not hide the fact. "I wish I were brave enough to not do plastic surgery, but I think I bought myself a decade," she told The Guardian in 2015.

As always, she enjoys being a role model for other women and wants to help women as they age. "I like helping younger women be less afraid of getting closer to death," she joked in the same interview. "I'm 77 but I'm very youthful. I have passion. I have curiosity. I've always had a lot of energy. I have a fake hip, knee, thumb — more metal in me than a bionic woman, but I can still do Pilates."

Still stunnning

Fonda has lived, no doubt. But does she have regrets? "No. Why waste time?" Fonda told the Hollywood Reporter in 2011. "See, when you get older, you want to spend time thinking about what you're going to regret between now and when you die. So when you die, you have a minimum number of regrets."

Today, she stars with her friend, fellow activist and actress, Lily Tomlin, on the hit HBO series, Grace and Frankie, about two older women whose husbands are business partners that fall in love, turning the women's worlds upside-down. As always, she is not shy about tackling issues that could be seen as controversial, but those that also celebrate women of all ages. "We like playing women of a certain age — our age — and we thought it would be a very good platform for talking about aging and growing older, and the problems that women in particular face," Tomlin told Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson.

In what she calls her "third act", Fonda continues to teach others how to feel their very best, no matter their age, in her book, "Prime Time: Love, Health, Sex, Fitness, Friendship, Spirit — Making the Most of All Your Life." She wrote in the preface, "This book is for those of us who, like me, believe that luck is opportunity meeting preparation: that with preparation and knowledge, with information and reflection, we can try to raise the odds of being lucky, and of making our last three decades — our Third Acts — the most peaceful, generous, loving, sensual, transcendent time of all: and that planning for it, especially during one's middle years, can help make this so."

What a life, Jane Fonda, and what an inspiration for women everywhere.

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