Jane Fonda Says Her Former Inmates Were 'Mildly Impressed' She Had Starred in “Monster-in-Law” with Jennifer Lopez

Jane Fonda, who has been arrested and jailed multiple times, recalled how fellow inmates “had far more important things to think about” than her movies

<p>Daniele Venturelli/WireImage</p> Jane Fonda on May 14

Daniele Venturelli/WireImage

Jane Fonda on May 14

Jane Fonda is recalling her “eye-opener” of an experience behind bars.

The actress-activist, 86, told hosts Ted Danson and Woody Harrelson on SiriusXM’s podcast Where Everybody Knows Your Name about her most recent time spending the night in jail — not her first, as she noted.

“I was the only white person there,” Fonda recalled. “A lot of other prisoners, Black women,” she added, “could have cared less who I was. They had far more important things to think about and none of them had seen any of my movies.”

One famous costar of Fonda’s, however, caught her fellow inmates’ attention: Jennifer Lopez. “They had seen Monster-in-Law,” said the star of the 2005 rom-com about a scheming would-be mother-in-law.

Related: Jane Fonda Says Jennifer Lopez 'Never Apologized' After 'Monster-in-Law' Slap Left Her with a Cut

“I pulled that card and they were mildly impressed, but not really,” quipped the two-time Oscar winner. “They went right back and talked about what they were dealing with — which was survival issues. It was an eye-opener.”

Everett (Left-right:) Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez in 'Monster-in-Law'
Everett (Left-right:) Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez in 'Monster-in-Law'

Her stint behind bars in fact resulted from Fonda’s “fifth time” in a row being arrested in 2019 — for crowding, obstructing, or incommoding while raising awareness about the peril of global climate change via public protest.

Danson, who joined Fonda in being arrested during one such Washington D.C. “Fire Drill Friday” event, pointed out that for “most people in this world, especially people of color,” getting arrested is a “way different” experience.

“There’s something very liberating about engaging in civil disobedience,” agreed Fonda. “It’s like putting your whole body on the line where your deepest values are, and you don’t get many chances in life to do that.”

To Danson, 76, and Harrelson, 62, she added, “Even though we’re treated okay once we’re there — because they don’t want to make a stink because we’re white and famous.”

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<p>Kevin Winter/Getty</p> (Left-right:) Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez in 2005

Kevin Winter/Getty

(Left-right:) Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez in 2005

In fact, Fonda’s time in jail included the unusual experience of having a guard stationed outside her cell seemingly for her own protection, the Grace & Frankie star said. "There's a flat, metal thing that you sleep on and you use anything you have. A sweater, a coat, anything to soften it a little bit. And meantime, down the hall, nothing but screams. Psychotic breaks are happening. Guys are screaming and screaming and banging the doors.”

Related: Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin Feel 'Lucky' for Their Enduring Friendship: 'We Love Each Other' (Exclusive)

Back in April at a TIME100 Summit event, Fonda further detailed her experiences in prison following the Greenpeace USA-organized “Fire Drill Friday” protests, where she and fellow stars Sam Waterston, Catherine Keener and Rosanna Arquette were also arrested. 

“I turned 82 in jail there,” she explained then. “And I figured, if I do this a whole bunch of people will go, ‘God, if she can do it, I guess I can.’”

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