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Jane Fonda in her latest film, “Monster-in-Law”
Could a rapprochement between Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden be in the works?
That was the speculation recently in Toronto, where the former couple had a reunion of sorts.
And political activist Hayden, whose celebrity faded when their marriage broke up, did nothing to stifle the buzz.
Last month, double Oscar-winner Fonda was in Canada to promote her new book, “My Life So Far.”
She spoke to hundreds of jubilant fans and was escorted by Hayden, who was in town for a panel discussion on U.S. war resisters.
The couple was together from 1973 to 1990. Fonda, now divorced from Ted Turner, is 67. Hayden, the prototypical angry young man and former defendant in the Chicago 7 trial, is 65.
The couple traveled together to North Vietnam several times in the 1970s – a fact not forgotten by many Vietnam vets – where she harshly criticized the U.S. military and posed for pictures on a Communist anti-aircraft gun.
But that’s hardly the end of the story of Fonda’s activities in North Vietnam.
When she returned, she told the press: “I would think that if you understood what communism was, you would hope, you would pray on your knees that we would someday become communist.”
Some of her other famous, or infamous, quotes of the era:
- “The Viet Cong are driven by the same spirit that drove Washington and Jefferson.
- “The Viet Cong are the conscience of the world.”
She told British reporters in 1971 that U.S. atrocities included “applying electrodes to prisoners’ genitals, mass rapes, slicing off of body parts, scalping, skinning alive, and leaving ‘heat tablets’ around which burned the insides of children who ate them.”
Maybe she heard that from John Kerry. Or maybe he heard it from her.
While Fonda claims now not to have been anti-military, one must overlook the fact that she co-founded, with actor Donald Sutherland, an organization called FTA, which didn’t stand for “Fight The Army,” but rather another F-word.
But all that is behind her now. There’s even more the public has forgotten. Fonda is once again among the Hollywood royalty as co-star of the hit movie “Monster-in-Law,” a romantic comedy also starring Jennifer Lopez. Hayden, meanwhile, has stuck to leftist politics.
In Toronto, Fonda urged her fans to attend Hayden’s speech at the University of Toronto.
She called on Canadians to offer refuge to war resisters who refuse to fight in Iraq.
“I’d go, but I’ve got to be here,” she said.
She may have apologized to the veterans of the Vietnam era, but she is not shy about making new political enemies in the 21st century. She said that since the start of war in Iraq, 37 U.S. military recruiters have gone AWOL. It’s been reported that about 6,000 soldiers have also deserted. And she sounded happy about it.
Fonda said she has heard from hundreds of Vietnam veterans who say they support what she said and did during the height of her activism.
“The Vietnam veterans, so many of them have walked by and said, ‘You have nothing to be sorry for, I totally forgive you,’ or ‘The war was a mistake.’ … It fills me with happiness because it means a healing is taking place.”
Fonda, who earned the nickname Hanoi Jane in the 1970s, said while she regretted posing on the anti-aircraft battery, she did not regret her anti-war stance or her decision to go to North Vietnam, where she made radio broadcasts urging U.S. airmen to stop bombing.
“I’m proud I went to North Vietnam because Nixon was lying to us,” Fonda told the crowd, explaining it was during that tumultuous time she met Hayden.
Hayden told the Toronto Star it was their shared opposition to the war that “glued” them together.
“I don’t know what makes it easy for a couple to stay together, but one of the things that can complicate things is when circumstances change,” said Hayden. He now teaches at Occidental College in Los Angeles. “We were drawn together by a situation that glued us together, but that situation didn’t last,” he said, adding, “Acting was her true calling.”
Hayden, who shares a son, Troy Garity, and an adopted daughter with Fonda, said he only learned she was in town when he landed at Pearson yesterday. Fonda called him and asked him to meet with her before the book signing.
When asked if the pair were planning to meet for a late-night dinner, Hayden smiled slyly and simply responded, “Wouldn’t you like to know?”