The Truth About Jane Fonda And Ted Turner's Divorce

Celebrity marriages and divorces tend to make the news when they happen, and indeed, words are still being written about the Brad Pitt-Angelina Jolie divorce six years after it was finalized. Similarly, the Amber Heard-Johnny Depp divorce got downright ugly, with a defamation trial becoming a hit when it was broadcast on television.

Actress and fitness icon Jane Fonda's 1991 marriage to billionaire businessman Ted Turner was not necessarily kept under the radar, but the couple certainly didn't seek out media attention for their wedding — it wasn't even announced to the world until after it happened. "You'll know when it happens. We think it's a private thing. We don't want helicopters buzzing over our house," he said, via the Observer-Reporter.

When they divorced 10 years later, it was equally low-key. As Today reports, there were no salacious allegations of abuse, no claims of infidelity. It was simply a matter of two people who, in 10 years of marriage, had simply grown apart.

'Irretrievably Broken'

When Jane Fonda filed for divorce from Ted Turner, according to the Associated Press, Fonda claimed that the marriage was "irretrievably broken," which the news source notes is the standard language for a divorce petition in Georgia that doesn't allege abuse, infidelity, or other such acts. In fact, it seems that two key factors played a role in the dissolution of their marriage, although it bears noting that the only two people who know for certain why Fonda and Turner divorced are Fonda and Turner.

Nevertheless, it looks as if religion played at least a small role. Specifically, according to Today, at some point during their marriage Fonda converted to Christianity, and that rattled their relationship. Turner would say that it wasn't the conversion specifically that played a role, but that she reportedly "wouldn't talk about it," as he wrote in his memoir.

Fonda, however, would later claim that Ted was too high-maintenance and that he demanded attention that she couldn't give, in particular when she was having issues within her own family. "He needs someone to be there 100 percent of the time. He thinks that's love. It is not love. It's babysitting. We went in different directions. I grew up," Fonda said, via E! Online.

The Aftermath

Some divorces result in the parties hating each other for the rest of their lives, some end in the parties maintaining a cool but cordial relationship. And then some, like that of Ted Turner and Jane Fonda, result in the two remaining friends.

It wasn't easy, at first. Turner told Today about an incident at one of his homes after coming to terms with the fact that Fonda had moved out. "Our closets faced each other's, and when I saw her empty space I sat down on the floor between them and cried," he said. 

Fonda would later say, via E! Online, that she was glad that she married Ted Turner even if their union didn't last. "Marrying Ted is like marrying 15 people — you have to learn how to hunt, so I did. You have to learn how to fly fish, so I did. He liked me to dress sexy, so I did. And so forth. I wanted to. Why be with Ted Turner if you're not going to allow yourself to be absorbed in his reality and learn from it? And I'm glad I did," she said.

The two remained friends, even years after the ink was finalized on their divorce decree. Over the ensuing years, they were frequently spotted together at this event or that event. For example, in 2017, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, he was invited to her 80th birthday party, where Jane referred to Ted as "[my] favorite ex-husband."