Two-time Academy Award winner Jane Fonda says she suffered a breakdown while shooting the first season of Netflix's "Grace and Frankie."
"It took me a season to come to care for my character. I had to go back into therapy and start Prozac," said the 81-year-old actress, who plays Grace Hanson opposite Lily Tomlin's Frankie Bergstein. The series about two women who turn to each other for solace after their husbands reveal they've been having a gay relationship for many years premiered in May 2015 and has been renewed for a sixth season set to air next year.
Speaking in a Hollywood Reporter roundtable with other actresses including Alex Borstein, Tiffany Haddish and Maya Rudolph, Fonda said: "It took me a long time to figure out [my relationship to this character]. 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 … oh, this is not a good thing to talk about."
The actress, who won Oscars for "Klute" (1971) and "Coming Home" (1978) and has been nominated five more times, has spoken previously of her distant father, movie legend Henry Fonda, and her mother, socialite Frances Seymour Brokaw, who committed suicide in 1950 at age 42.
Grace's abandonment by her husband proved similar enough to touch a nerve, Fonda said in the interview, posted Tuesday. "It was a big trigger, and I didn't realize that a character in a comedy could actually trigger something very profound. And so I love her," she said of her character, "and I learned to invite her into the room. After the first season, I couldn't have written a backstory for her, and then I wrote 30 pages without ever stopping. But I don't really want to have to be anything like her. We have too much in common as it is."
All seems well otherwise, the actress indicated. In a blog post on April 13, Fonda wrote she was filming the eighth episode of season 6. "Our hours are long but we all get along so well … the actors, the writers, directors, crew members. And it's a diverse group. Went to work yesterday at 5:30 and came home at midnight. Can't find the right emoji for that."