Jane Fonda Reveals Why She'd Never Date Anyone Older Than 20

The 85-year-old actor has a specific hangup when it comes to older men.

In recent years, Jane Fonda has said that she has no interest in dating, but in a new interview, she gave an unexpected reason why she'd rule out a large segment of potential suitors anyway. While being interviewed on the podcast Absolutely Not, Fonda said that if she were to "take a lover" now, that person would have to be 20 years old—65 years younger than the Book Club star is now. Her claim surprised host Heather McMahan, but she was even more surprised when the 85-year-old actor shared the reason why.

RELATED: Jane Fonda Swears by This One Drugstore Product for Glowing Skin at 84.

"I'm ashamed to say this, but if I were to take a lover, he'd have to be 20," Fonda says in a clip from the podcast posted to TikTok. McMahon responds, "Really? Now why specifically 20?" To this, the two-time Oscar-winner says, "Because I don't like old skin." McMahon laughs, but Fonda insists, "I don't."

It's not the first time Fonda has made this kind of complaint about men closer to her own age. In a 2021 interview with Harper's Bazaar, Fonda said that she wasn't interested in being in a sexual relationship again, but clarified that when she even considers the idea, she imagines that the man is younger than her.

"I don't want to be in a relationship, a sexual relationship, again. I don't have that desire," she said. "Do I fantasize? Yes, here's my fantasy. I'll just put it out there. That I meet a professor or a researcher, somebody in that line who is really capable of loving, of cherishing a woman, so that I could test myself and see if I could show up. I think maybe now I could, but the problem is that, like a man, I would want a younger man. Isn't that awful? It's a thing about skin. I would want a younger man, and I'm too vain."

Asked what she meant, Fonda responded, "I'm very grateful that I don't have to get naked in front of anybody again ever, even in candlelight. And if I did, I mean in my fantasy, the man is younger than me, so that would make it even harder. I'm being perfectly honest. I wish that wasn't true."

Fonda has been married three times: to director Roger Vadim from 1965 to 1973; to politician Tom Hayden from 1973 to 1990; and to CNN founder Ted Turner from 1991 to 2001. In the interview with Harper's Bazaar, she said, "Part of the reason I get into a relationship with a man is because I feel that he can take me down a new path. I'm attracted to people who can teach me things and whose lives are different from mine, and so I give myself over to that."

She also talked about another recurring theme in her relationships. "What I've had to really think about is that I'm not really capable [of intimacy]. It's not them. It's me," the climate activist said. "If a guy had come along and said, 'Come on, Fonda, show up,' I would have run away scared. I was attracted to men who never would have done that to me because they couldn't necessarily show up themselves. I didn't know that at the time, but now I know."

Aside from her marriages, Fonda was also in a long-term relationship with music producer Richard Perry from 2009 to 2017. Not longer after they split up, Fonda said she was done with romantic relationships. In 2018, she told Extra, "I'm not dating anymore, but I did up until a couple of years ago." She added, "I'm 80. I've closed up shop down there."

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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