Jane Fonda reveals she suffered a nervous breakdown while filming Grace and Frankie

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Sabrina Barr
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Jane Fonda has revealed she suffered a nervous breakdown while filming the first season of her hit Netflix show Grace and Frankie.

The two-time Academy Award winner spoke about the impact the show has had on her mental state during a recent comedy actress roundtable interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

When asked about how she related to her character Grace Hanson, Fonda explained that it took her a while for her to realise how to connect with the part.

“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,” the actor said, her voice choking up slightly.

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

Fonda continued, explaining that this acknowledgement encouraged her to “love” her character and learn how to “invite her into the room”.

The Klute star added that she doesn’t ever want to be like Grace, because they have “too much in common as it is”.

While it is unknown what abandonment issues the star was alluding to, they may have been in reference to her three divorces over the years, to film director Roger Vadim, activist Tom Hayden and CNN founder Ted Turner.

The 81-year-old also experienced the loss of her mother at the age of 12.

Following the first season of Grace and Frankie, Fonda said she had to “go back into therapy and start Prozac”, an antidepressant.

During the roundtable interview, Fonda was also asked about what it’s like portraying “older female sexuality”, stating that today’s society “doesn’t like people with wrinkles to be talking about sex”.

“But the fastest-growing demographic in the world is older women, and a lot of them are doing it very pleasurably,” she added.

Grace and Frankie, which premiered on Netflix in 2015, has now been running for five seasons.

Fonda was recently chosen to cover a special edition supplement of British Vogue for the magazine’s May issue.

Edward Enninful, editor-in-chief of the publication, explained that for the magazine, diversity has “never been solely about a person’s ethnicity or gender”.

“It’s about diversity across the board,” he said. “Seeing the amazing array of women over 50 in this special edition proves that a person’s age will always be a more intriguing, nuanced and inspiring factor than a simple number could ever suggest.”