Aug. 8, 2011— -- Jane Fonda calls this time of her life "Prime Time." The actress, activist and fitness guru is now 73, and much to her surprise, she says getting older is not scary at all.
"I've never been happier," Fonda told "Nightline" anchor Cynthia McFadden.
Fonda has been researching getting older for her new book "Prime Time," in which she mixes her own journey into old age with the latest science and a healthy dose of self-help. And in her research she discovered something surprising.
"Most people over 50 are happier and it seems counter intuitive."
But Fonda, herself, has only gotten to a peaceful place by examining and coming to terms with some of the darker parts of her past. In an emotional interview, she opened up to "Nightline" about her distant relationship with her father, the legendary actor Henry Fonda, her mother's suicide, her own struggles with bulimia until the age of 40, and her shortcomings as a mother to her two children.
"A mother who is obsessing about being thin and dieting and exercising is not going to be a very good mother," she said.
She calls this process the "life review," and recommends it to everyone approaching their 60s.
Fonda also spoke to "Nightline" about what she has taken away from her three marriages to what she calls "alpha men," particularly her third husband, Ted Turner, with whom she remains friends.
"We're not in love, but we love each other," she said. "He taught me so much, especially humor. If I could be good in Monster-in-Law, it's because I spent ten years with Ted."
But, she said, only now has she found true intimacy with a man. She lives with her boyfriend, music producer Richard Perry, 69, in the Hollywood Hills.
"It means I can bring my whole self to the table," she said, adding that "[aging] can be a time of tremendous sensuality... because you know your body."