Jane Fonda Talks Bulimia and Body Image

73 year-old actress Jane Fonda recently opened up to Harper’s Bazaar about her troubled past with body image issues and eating disorders – here’s what she has to say:

Body image, the 1950s, and Henry Fonda: “I was raised in the ’50s,” she explains. “I was taught by my father that how I looked was all that mattered, frankly. He was a good man, and I was mad for him, but he sent messages to me that fathers should not send: Unless you look perfect, you’re not going to be loved.”

She was a fanatic for exercise, and she battled bulimia for decades: “I wasn’t very happy from, I would say, puberty to 50? It took me a long time. It was in my 40s, and if you suffer from bulimia, the older you get, the worse it gets. It takes longer to recover from a bout. I had a career, I was winning awards, I was supporting nonprofits, I had a family.” One day she just stopped. “I had to make a choice: I live or I die.” She refocused, trying to “fill that empty space with something.” Then came the workouts. “Gloria Steinem said empowerment begins in the muscles.”

Vanities: “I’m vain. My arms are thin, but I’m vain about loose flesh. And so I’m careful that what I wear will show off my best parts, which are my waist and my butt.” That said, “I have people in my life who will say, ‘Honey, you’re trying too hard.’ I like being saucy, but I’m 73 and a half. I’m still trying to find my way between matronly and coltishness. Colt, not cult: C-O-L-T.”

… says Jane.