We remember how politics brought this couple together

Barbarella was behind her; so were her glamour-girl nights with husband Roger Vadim, the French director with whom she had a daughter, Vanessa, in 1968. Hollywood princess and international sexpot Jane Fonda cocked an ear to the sirens of a restless, rebellious generation. And in mid-December 1972, at 34, she made her biggest commitment to radical politics. While in Norway filming A Doll’s House, she announced her plans to divorce Vadim and marry Tom Hayden, one of the Chicago Seven arrested for protesting at the 1968 Democratic Convention.

Fonda and Hayden wed the following January, forming a union that would loom large on the socio-cultural landscape for the next two decades. They produced the 1974 antiwar documentary/propaganda film, Introduction to the Enemy. They formed IPC Films with fellow activist Bruce Gilbert and produced Coming Home, The China Syndrome, 9 to 5, and On Golden Pond. To raise money for Hayden’s left-wing political activities, Fonda opened an aerobics studio and produced the 1982 Jane Fonda’s Workout video — a bonanza that whipped America into the ’80s fitness craze. They also mobilized young Hollywood, using their house as a political mix-and-mingle center and turning their Santa Barbara ranch into an egalitarian children’s camp.

The impact of the marriage, however, was more lasting than the marriage itself. In 1990 Fonda and Hayden divorced, sharing custody of their son, Troy, now 18. In The Fondas, a harsh assessment of the clan published this year, Peter Collier theorizes that Hayden’s alleged womanizing took its toll on the relationship, or that maybe he got tired of ”beauty and the beast” jokes. Fonda, who continues to expand her aerobics empire (she recently produced her 15th videotape), is engaged to mogul Ted Turner. Hayden remains in the state legislature seat he’s held since 1982. And this was the final year for the children’s camp at the ranch. Since last fall, Fonda, who got the spread in the divorce, has had all 120 acres up for sale.


Dec. 20, 1972
Dan Jenkins’ novel Semi-Tough exposed pro football, while singer Helen Reddy boasted ”I Am Woman.” Holiday movies included The Poseidon Adventure and Pete ‘n’ Tillie, with Carol Burnett and Walter Matthau. On TV, The Mod Squad got groovy ratings.