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Jane Fonda opens up about her father, her life and why she's 'not afraid of death'

The Oscar-winning actress, 79, opened up about her life and her late father in an interview with Town & Country.
/ Source: TODAY

"I’m a slow learner and a late starter." That's how Oscar-winning actress, fitness guru, author and activist Jane Fonda described herself in a new interview.

And she wasn't just being humble.

The accomplished 79-year-old still sees herself as being a student of life with a lot to learn.

"The way I figure, the way to live, especially in the latter part of your life, is to envision how you want to die,” she said in an interview with Town & Country. "I think we all would like it to be in bed, surrounded by family and loved ones. To get there you have to work hard to heal the wounds and mend the fences. Because in the end it’s always what you didn’t do, not what you did."

The end itself isn't the scary part, according to her.

"I’m not afraid of death, but I’m afraid of getting to the end without becoming the best I can be as a person," Fonda explained.

Fonda made an appearance at the Emmy Awards last month.Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

The thrice-married star, who recently split with her partner of eight years, Richard Perry, said that constant drive for the best might have been what was behind her divorces.

"I think it’s why I never was able to stay with a husband," she told the magazine. "I just always saw that it could get better. That sounds terrible. I wouldn’t want to erase any of them. But they all seem like stepping stones."

But looking back now, it's her very first relationship with a man that sticks in her mind — the difficult one she had with her father, acting icon Henry Fonda, who died in 1982.

Jane Fonda with father, Henry Fonda, circa 1979 in New York City. Sonia Moskowitz / Getty Images

"I miss him so much," she said. "I think I’d be able to talk to him now, which was something I had a hard time doing when he was alive; I was too intimidated by him. There’s so much that I wasn’t able to say."

And while she can't go back and change that now, she can look ahead try to foster the best relationships possible with her own children.

“I haven’t always been a great parent,” Fonda said. “I did the best I could, and I’ve tried to learn what better would have looked like, and I try to do that now.”