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Jane Fonda recalls the conversation that made father Henry Fonda weep

In a candid interview with Andy Cohen, the 84-year-old actor revealed the moment her words made her usually stoic father break down in tears.
L'Oréal Presents In Conversation with Jane Fonda During 2019 Toronto International Film Festival
Jane Fonda told Andy Cohen her father never cried, especially in front of other people.George Pimentel / Getty Images

Jane Fonda didn't always have the best relationship with her father, Henry Fonda, but the actor has revealed that they made a sort of peace in the more intimate moments the duo shared toward the end of his life.

In a candid interview with Andy Cohen, Fonda shared a conversation she had with her late father that brought him to tears.

Fonda, 84, spoke to Cohen about how she tried to get closer with her father in his later years. Henry Fonda died in 1982 from heart disease, with his daughter by his side. Jane Fonda told Cohen she wasn't able to achieve everything she wanted in her relationship with her father before he died.

"You don’t become somebody that you’ve never been at the end of your life," she said. "My dad was not a communicative person. He just didn’t know how. And so I would’ve made myself miserable to expect him to be that way."

Fonda said she tried to really connect with him toward the end of his life, when he was sick.

She recalled the moment she sat at her father's feet and talked to him about the past, and the future — a moment that made her usually composed father break down in tears.

"All I could do was my end, to tell him at the end, 'I’m sorry that there were times when I made you unhappy. I’m sorry that I wasn’t always a great daughter. I totally forgive you for not always being a great father. I know that you did the best you could. I promise you that your wife Shirley will remain in the family forever. I will commit myself to that,'" Fonda recalled.

She told Cohen that her father never cried, especially in front of other people. But this conversation was different.

"I know that he took in what I said to him. He cried and that was it," she said. "I’m lucky. That’s an example of luck."

Related: Jane Fonda reflects on living her ‘final act’ in life

Fonda also recalled a special bond they shared from the last movie she filmed with her father: the 1981 classic, "On Golden Pond." In one scene, she relished the moment her character told her father's character, "I want to be your friend."

The two shared a hug in another scene together. Fonda choked up to Cohen as she remembered her character telling her father four words that meant the world to her: "I love you, Dad."

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