Tom Hayden "Hated" Jane Fonda's Workout Videos

Fonda's fitness empire began as a fundraiser for her and ex-husband Hayden's political action committee.

Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden
Photo: Ron Burton/Mirrorpix/Getty Images


Two-time Oscar-winning actress, activist, and fitness pioneer Jane Fonda, 84, and politician, anti-war activist, and member of the "Chicago 7" Tom Hayden, who passed away in 2016 at the age of 76.

How They Met

In the 2018 HBO documentary Jane Fonda in Five Acts, the actress described meeting Hayden in the early '70s "downtown at some theater."

"He put his hand on my knee and I felt this electric shock go through my body," Fond recalled. She remembered telling her roommate at the time, "I think that I've met the man that I'm going to marry next."

Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden
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Though they hailed from incredibly different backgrounds, the two bonded over their anti-war activism. "I was drawn by her transformation from a Hollywood star to a political star," Hayden said in the documentary.

"The passion of our common involvement no doubt caused our involvement in passion for each other," Hayden wrote in his 1988 memoir Reunion. "Being able to fight the same hazardous battles daily, and to do so together rather than in loneliness, was a powerful basis for this love."

In early 1973, the unconventional couple wed at Fonda's Laurel Canyon house. According to a notice in the Gadsden Times, the couple's decision to wed stemmed from Fonda's desire to have a child. "Both she and Hayden agreed it would be better to be married 'rather than hassle with criticism that would drain our energies from our real work,'" the paper reported. Romantic.

In the documentary, Fonda recalled telling Hayden's mother that they were expecting a child. "She said, 'You're gonna have to get married.' We thought that was bourgeois."

Still, points were made.

"She said, 'What are you going to do when you go on The Johnny Carson Show and you want to talk about Vietnam and they want to talk about 'How come you're having a kid and you're not married?'"

"We got a gay episcopal priest," Hayden said in the documentary, noting that he thought the priest "was thrown out of the order for marrying us."

Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden
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About five months later the couple welcomed son Troy Garity, whose last name is Hayden's mother's maiden name. Fonda said they "wanted him to have a name that didn't have so much baggage."

Why We Loved Them

Imagine being a wealthy, celebrated movie star and trading it all in to sleep on a mattress on the floor of a communal cockroach-infested "shack" in service of the greater good.

"There's a contradiction between being involved in a movement for social change and also being a movie actress in Hollywood," Fonda told The New York Times in 1974. "I am trying to reduce that contradiction as much as possible."

Later, Fonda admitted in an interview with The New Yorker, that she "wanted to prove, to Tom and to myself, that I could do that, that I didn't need to live with privilege."

Garity shared anecdotes from his unusual upbringing in Jane Fonda in Five Acts, which included driving to the Oscars with his family in a station wagon. "My father wore the ugliest suit in the world. I wore a t-shirt with a hand-screened tuxedo on it," he remembered.

In fact, Fonda said she wore "a dress that a Tom supporter had made" to the 1979 ceremony, DuJour reported.

Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden with their son, Troy Garity
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Unlike most children of Oscar-winning actresses, Garity said he and his family "holidayed in conflict zones" and that his "first 13 birthdays were fundraisers."

When They Peaked

Fonda, Hayden — and the '80s as a whole — peaked with the release of Jane Fonda's Workout Book and videos.

The franchise began as a fundraiser for Fonda and Hayden's political action committee, the Campaign for Economic Democracy.

Fonda's first workout video became an instant hit and revolutionized the fitness industry. "It was owned by the campaign for economic democracy," Fonda clarified in her documentary. "The organization owned it, not me, and all the profits went into the organization."

Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden
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The Breakup

Tensions arose with the success of Fonda's workout empire.

"Tom hated it," Fonda told The New Yorker of her business venture. "Even though all money went to the organization. He thought it was all about vanity."

In the HBO documentary, Fonda unpacked some of Hayden's animosity.

"Here is a man who was considered an intellectual, he was considered a star in the movement. He'd written … I don't know how many books he'd written … and then I write Jane Fonda's Workout Book and it becomes number one on The New York Times for two years. Two solid years. If I was him I would've had a certain degree of resentment," she said. "He thought I was superficial, that I wasn't smart enough."

But Fonda's side hustle wasn't the only source of division.

"Neither one of us were big on talking about our feelings," Fonda said in the documentary. "Our lives became more and more on two separate tracks. Tom once said 'If Jane and I find ourselves together it was a mistake in scheduling.' I think that in the end neither one of us were happy."

Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden
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In late 1989, after a nearly year-long trial separation, reached a divorce settlement, reported the LA Times.

"She felt the call of Hollywood — that was very jarring to me," Hayden said in Jane Fonda in Five Acts. "I was drinking and womanizing. I wasn't ready to be the husband of somebody who was preoccupied with being an actress."

On Fonda's 51st birthday, Hayden reportedly told his then-wife that he was in love with someone else. According to the New York Times, she retaliated by throwing his things out the window in garbage bags, which "helped a little."

"He fell in love with somebody … and I found out," Fonda remembered in the documentary. "It did knock the foundation out from under me because I just never could've imagined life without Tom. If I'm not with Tom Hayden then I'm nobody."

Fonda was "devastated" by Hayden's betrayal, but she found a silver lining. "I'm glad that happened," she told The New Yorker, "because you think you're broken, but you're really broken open. That's what broke me open, was that nervous breakdown."

Though Fonda and Hayden did ultimately find peace in their new dynamic, there were reports of an incredibly awkward situation at Garity's wedding to Simone Bent in 2007.

According to The New Yorker, as Hayden concluded his toast to the couple, he reportedly introduced Fonda by saying, "We know how Jane always becomes the part she's playing. Hopefully, that won't be the case in our son's marriage!" This was two years following Fonda's memorable performance opposite Jennifer Lopez in Monster-in-Law

Where They Are Now

Fonda married media mogul Ted Turner in 1991 and they split a decade later. The multi-hyphenate then dated record producer Richard Perry for eight years. She has since sworn off dating. In 2018 she told "Extra" that she'd "closed up shop down there."

The prolific actress was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2021 Golden Globe Awards. She has been starring opposite Lily Tomlin in the hit series Grace and Frankie since 2015.

Hayden wed Canadian actress Barbara Williams in 1993 and they welcomed son Jack in 2000.

The famed activist passed away in 2016. In 2020, he was portrayed by Eddie Redmayne in the Netflix film The Trial of the Chicago 7.

"He gave me structure and guidance," Fonda said of her late ex-husband in a 2018 New Yorker article. "I learned so much from him that I am forever grateful for. I miss him so much."

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