Jane Fonda's 3 Children: Everything to Know
Jane Fonda has had an extraordinarily full life.
She has enjoyed a long career on the big screen and as a fitness guru, and used her fame to amplify her voice as an activist. The actress also has two daughters, Vanessa and Mary Luana, and one son, Troy.
As she has gotten older, Fonda has reflected on her life and how she spent her time. "The few things I regret in my life are not the controversy and the activism," she told PEOPLE, adding "but not having put enough time into mothering, wiving, [and] taking care of the inner life."
But with age has come a more enlightened perspective, she said. "I tell my kids I'm sorry," for not being more present in their lives at times, she told PEOPLE in 2017. "I'm thankful that I've gotten better over the 80 years … I'm less judgmental. I'm forgiving. It wasn't always true. I've really worked hard to get better as a human being."
Read on to learn about Jane Fonda's three children.
Vanessa Vadim, 54
Fonda welcomed her first child, Vanessa Vadim, with then-husband Roger Vadim on Sept. 28, 1968, in Paris, France. Fonda and the French film director separated when Vanessa was just a toddler, and she grew up with her mother in California — though she did spend summers and holidays in France. Her name, Fonda has said, is a tribute to fellow actor and activist Vanessa Redgrave.
Vanessa attended Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, from 1985 to 1989, and quickly showed that she had picked up some of her mother's interests. She protested in a pro-choice march in Washington D.C. and helped to build a school in Nicaragua.
In 1989, while in New York City to attend one of her mother's movie premieres, Vanessa was arrested for drug possession along with a friend, and reportedly claimed to have purchased the drugs as part of a school project. The arresting officers noted there was no indication that Vanessa had used any of the drugs her friend had in his possession, but Vanessa insisted they be arrested together. "Vanessa is a good daughter and a serious student of whom I am very proud, and I stand behind her through this," Fonda said at the time.
Today, Vanessa is a filmmaker who has directed projects like Jane Fonda in Five Acts. She is still an activist, standing with Fonda and many others at the U.S. Capitol in 2019 for the "Fire Drill Fridays" climate protests.
"Arrested with my sister @maryisoutside and mother in the Hart Senate Building," Vanessa captioned a photo she posted on Instagram of her sister Mary Luana being arrested by three officers.
"It wasn't easy growing up as my daughter," Fonda once told PEOPLE. "But Vanessa is an amazing woman."
Troy Garity, 49
Troy O'Donovan Garity, was born on July 7, 1973, in Los Angeles, California. Fonda was three months pregnant when she and Troy's father, politician and activist, Tom Hayden, were married. Because they both had such high profile roles and both of their names were bound to bring their son attention, Fonda and Hayden chose to give Troy his paternal grandmother's maiden name, Garity. They also chose Troy's first name as a tribute to Vietnamese resistance leader Nguyen Van Troi.
"When I was born, there was still a lot of anger over my parents' involvement in Vietnam," Troy told PEOPLE in 1998. "They thought it would be better if I grew up with my own name."
When Troy was a baby, Fonda and Hayden divided parenting duties, so they could both focus on their careers as well. "I couldn't possibly balance my lives as actress, political activist and mother if I weren't married to Tom," Fonda told PEOPLE in 1977, going on to explain that Hayden handled Troy's potty training while she was away filming a movie in London.
But by the time he was 10, the family had settled into a more stable routine in Santa Monica, California. "I've had many different lives," Fonda told PEOPLE in 1982. "Where I am now is where I will remain for the rest of my life. The family is solid. I feel stable and happy and lucky. I can't take on any more, so it's not as if I'm going to expand in any direction. Now the expansion will have to be internal."
Troy is an actor, and he made his first on-screen appearance in Fonda's 1981 movie On Golden Pond. He's since gone on to appear in the Barbershop movies and in the HBO series Ballers with Dwayne Johnson. For the premiere of Jane Fonda in Five Acts, a documentary directed by his sister, Troy walked the red carpet with Fonda.
"His best features are his soul and his hair," Fonda has said of her son. "He's as beautiful inside as he is outside."
Mary Luana Williams, 55
Mary Williams Jane Fonda and daughter Mary Williams
Mary Luana Williams was born Oct. 13, 1967, in Oakland, California. Known as Lulu, she was the fifth daughter born to Randy and Mary Williams, who were active in the Black Panthers. Fonda and Hayden knew the Williamses through their joint activism — so when her parents could no longer take care of her, Lulu went to live with Fonda, Hayden and their two kids in Santa Monica.
"She just sort of came down [to live with us] and it was fine and happy for me because it was somebody that I had a connection with," Troy told Oprah in 2013. "She was older, which is always cool when you have a teenager who's actually listening to you!"
"She helped me to become whole," Fonda said on that same episode of Oprah's Next Chapter. "I think I learned as much or more from [Lulu] as she did from me. But on a psychological level, she helped complete me."
In 2013, Lulu published The Lost Daughter: A Memoir about her upbringing. In it, she described her childhood with the Black Panthers and the transition to living a celebrity-filled life in Los Angeles.